Lindsey”) to get going. Vonn shocked everyone, including herself, with a season-opening win
at Soelden in October. It was the first GS win of her very well decorated career and an early
omen that this season, her 11th on the World Cup tour, would be something special.
But doubt was right around the corner at Aspen in November when Vonn pulled out of the
slalom and announced that she would be divorcing her husband of four years and personal
coach Thomas Vonn. Members of the international media began to speculate whether Vonn
could produce the same results without her spouse, who had been by her side through three
overall titles and an Olympic gold medal.
The doubters were silenced the very next week when Vonn swept the two downhill and super
G wins in Lake Louise. She made it four wins in a row with another super G win — a hometown one, no less — in a rescheduled race on the men’s Birds of Prey track in Beaver Creek.
It was the best start to a season Vonn had ever had.
“I’ve had a lot of personal struggles off the slopes but I’ve somehow found the mental strength
to overcome it,” she said. “I’m proud of myself for continuously sticking with it and continuing
to fight. I know that can ski under any situation now. I think the problems in my personal life
have made me a little more focused, just wanting to prove to myself that I can ski by myself.
It’s been tough but I think I’ve held my focus more this year than ever before.” Later in the
season, Vonn opened up on her Denver Post blog about her reconciliation with her father
after six years of not speaking.
Vonn said that she started the season in the best shape of her life and gave the credit for her
improvement in tech races to a rigorous workout regimen. “I think it has to do with my endurance training that I’m doing all summer; it’s hundreds of hours sitting on a bike, but it pays off,”
said Vonn. “I have the strength to fight through two runs.”
Fast forward to the end of the season, by which time Vonn had racked up 10 World Cup wins,
five other podiums and clinched the downhill and super combined titles before the penultimate stop of 2012 — a pair of tech races in Are, Sweden. The week before, Vonn had taken
a huge stride in her gate skiing with a brilliant second run in the second of two GS races in
Ofterschwang, jumping from sixth to finish second.
In Are, Vonn kept the high-risk mentality going and jumped out to the first-run lead, a feat she
had never before accomplished.
“Before the second run I was nervous; I had never won a first run of a GS race before — it’s
lonely in the start being the last racer up there,” said Vonn, who held on for the 11th win of her
season but just the second GS victory of her career. “I knew I had to risk everything and I was
willing to take that chance.”
Though she had been way out in front of the field since December, the GS win in Are mathematically sealed the deal for Vonn’s fourth overall World Cup title, freeing her from the nail-biting experience that was last season’s Finals.
Vonn claimed the second
GS win of her career as she
clinched the overall title in
Losing a pole in the GS
meant missing a chance
to top Hermann Maier’s