This past month, Colorado’s queen of the slopes, Lindsey Vonn, retired—citing debilitating pain from past injuries—as the most decorated female downhiller ever. During her 19-year career, the 34-year-old Vail resident won three Olympic medals, four World Cup season titles, and 82 World Cup races. As packed as Vonn’s trophy case must be, though, we still don’t think it holds enough awards to honor the challenges she conquered on the way to alpine immortality. Which is why we’re giving her three more.

Most Likely to Win While Broken

Vonn endured loads of gruesome injuries yet always returned seemingly stronger—sometimes within 24 hours. In 2016, she suffered a fractured knee in a crash only to post the next day’s fastest time. (And you missed work after spraining your ankle during Zumba. Tsk.)

Harry How/Getty Images (Lindsey Vonn); Sean Parsons (medals)

The Presidential Medal of Reprimand

Before the 2018 Olympics, Vonn declared that she represented “the people of the United States, not the president.” The shot at Donald Trump garnered a fevered response from #MAGA trolls. Rather than pour gas on the situation, though, Vonn delivered a measured response to the virtual venom: “If they don’t like me their loss I guess.”

Jennifer Aniston Award for Succeeding in the Face of Sordid Gossip

Imagine your new romance being announced to the world via the tabloid headline, “IN LOVE WITH A SEX ADDICT.” Most would up and join a nunnery. Vonn thrived, winning eight World Cup titles during her two-year relationship with Tiger Woods.

This article was originally published in 5280 March 2019.
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan is the former digital editor of and teaches journalism at Regis Jesuit High School.