It's the Vonn-couver games!!!! I don't think this downhill event could have been any more exciting. Before I had kids, way back when I was much younger and a little nuts, I thought racing was a good way to spend the winter. Now I'm the unofficial Ski Bum Mum and I'm happy to sit back and watch the racers charge down that extremely challenging course.
(Image: Facebook--Lindsey Vonn)
Lindsey Vonn won the gold in one of the most treacherous downhill courses in 20 years. Vonn was cruising down an icy course at over 70 mph. She survived the ice chunks. And the bumps. And, oh yeah, just a few giant ruts carved deep into the course by previous racers. I thought I was going to die when I saw Lindsey favor her bruised right shin in a turn near the top, putting nearly all her weight on her uphill ski. Yikes. A dangerous move on a challenging course like that, but she managed to make it through the turn and regain her picture-perfect form. She sailed through the rest of the course--flying off the final jump for some big air near the finish. She came down on her left leg, favoring her bruised right shin. A risky move, but she did it! And the rest is history. Way to go Lindsey!
A big shout out to Vonn's amazing teammate Julia Mancuso who captured the silver medal in the women's downhill.
As you know, I've mentioned in my blog before that Lindsey and I hail from the same state and even grew up racing on the same "little hill" in Burnsville, Minnesota. That's where are similarities part. Lindsey is a racing phenom. I can't believe her incredible talent. I was the racer always catching a ski tip on a gate, spinning out, and crashing. (Yes, I was the drama queen of the course.)
Lindsey started out skiing on a "little hill" in Minnesota
So what's the big deal about racers and Minnesota? There isn't even a mountain in Minnesota. The vertical rise at Buck Hill where Lindsey raced is just a tad over 300 feet. You need a mountain with a vertical of over 2000 feet to run a downhill event. That means at Buck Hill the young racers need to go down (and then up the lift) on this "little hill" dozens and dozens of times just to get in 400 gates or more during a practice session.
Here's the scoop about the little hill where some amazing racers learn how to race, thanks to Jeff Baenen via the washingtonpost.com:
"Vonn was little Lindsey Kildow back then, just a 6-year-old learning to ski at Buck Hill under the eye of her father Allen, a competitive skier himself and a coach for the Buck Hill ski team... 'This little hill produced a lot of good skiers,' said Erich Sailer, who taught Vonn at Buck Hill and continues to coach there. Sailer, a member of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame, also coached three-time Olympian Kristina Koznick and two-time Olympian Tasha (Nelson) McCrank."
You can read more about Lindsey Vonn in Minnesota via the www.washingtonpost.