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Sports News

Factbox: Gold medalist Lindsey Vonn

(Reuters) - A look at Lindsey Vonn of the United States who won the gold medal in the Alpine skiing women’s downhill at the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Wednesday.

Age: 25

Place of birth: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States

Previous Olympic results:

Seventh place, 2006 Winter Olympics, super-G

Eighth place, 2006 Winter Olympics, downhill

14th place, 2006 Winter Olympics, slalom

Career achievements: 2x gold medalist, 2009 World Championships, downhill, super-G

2x silver medalist, 2007 World Championships, downhill, super-G

2x Champion, 2008/09, 2007/08 World Cup, overall

BACKGROUND

Vonn began skiing at the age of three and started racing at seven-years-old. Her father, Alan, was a three-time U.S. junior ski champion and she is married to Thomas Vonn, a former U.S. Olympic alpine ski racer.

At the 1999 World Championships in Colorado, a 14-year-old Vonn bought a U.S. ski team replica kit and passed herself off as a U.S. competitor. She accessed athlete-only areas and got the autograph of U.S. skier Bode Miller among others.

Her victory in what has been dubbed the Vonn-couver Games is her first Olympic gold medal.

In February 2009, Vonn’s victory in the super-G in Tarvisio, Italy took her past Tamara McKinney’s mark for the most World Cup wins by a female skier representing the United States.

She is also the first American woman to win back-to-back overall World Cup championships in 2008 and 2009.

INJURY JINX

In 2002, Vonn suffered a spectacular crash in the opening downhill race at Lake Louise in Canada when she caught a tip at 95kph and was thrown through three sets of netting, sustaining hip and back injuries.

The following year she strained her hip in a crash and missed the world championships. She was also ruled out of the remainder of the 2007-08 season after injuring her knee at the world championships in Are, Sweden.

In 2009, her injury woes continued in bizarre fashion when she severed a tendon in her thumb on a broken champagne bottle while celebrating a downhill world championship gold medal.

Heading into the 2010 Winter Olympics as a medal contender in five events, Vonn was a doubtful starter after suffering a shin injury during pre-Games training in Austria.

Writing by Neil Maidment; Editing by Frank Pingue

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