|PARK CITY, Utah (May 16) - Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who rewrote the history of women's alpine skiing in the United States throughout the 2008 season, is being honored with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's (USSA) 2008 USSA Beck International Award. The Beck is the USSA's highest athletic award presented to a competitor for outstanding performance in international competition during the past season.|
photo Doug Haney
Vonn was also one of six sport-specific athletes of the year. The athletes were among honorees at the organization's annual awards presentation May 16 at USSA Congress 2008 in Park City.
Vonn made history in the 2008 season when she became the second American to win the World Cup downhill title. She later surpassed Picabo Street and Daron Rahlves for the most World Cup downhill wins by an American with her 10th victory to become the most successful downhill skier in U.S. history. To cap it all off, Vonn made history again, becoming the first woman to win the World Cup overall since Tamara McKinney in 1983.
A member of the women's U.S. Alpine Ski Team for eight years, Vonn is a two time Olympian and World Championship athlete who has made it to the World Cup podium an astounding 33 times. A native of Minnesota, Vonn got her start at tiny Buck Hill outside of Minneapolis. Her original coach, Erich Sailer, was also honored by the USSA as the Buck Hill Ski Racing Club was awarded the organization's Club of the Year Award. Sailer also received the Tom Reynolds Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to coaching.
Throughout the 2008 season, Vonn achieved numerous incredible successes and truly solidified her place in the annals of alpine skiing history. In addition to receiving the Beck Award, Vonn will also be the recipient of the USSA Alpine Athlete of the Year award for the second year in a row.
World Cup Win Boosts Randall to Cross Country Athlete of Year
Another athlete who marked her page in ski history, Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was the recipient of the 2008 USSA Cross Country Athlete of the Year award.
Randall adapted a "no guts, no glory" mentality in the 2008 season, which led her to become the first U.S. woman in the 27-year history of cross country World Cup to win. She grabbed a victory at the the Rybinsk, Russia sprint event in December. It also was the first U.S. victory since Bill Koch in 1983.
Randall, who first made history 2006 when she became the first U.S. woman to break the top three of a World Cup cross country race, is a true inspiration to American cross country skiers. Her win serves as a milestone by which future cross country skiers will measure their success.
Veteran Jacobellis Takes Snowboarding Honor
Arguably the most dominant force in snowboardcross, Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) was honored as the USSA Snowboarding Athlete of the Year. A versatile competitor, Jacobellis took World Cup podiums in both SBX and Halfpipe in the 2008 season. A veteran of U.S. Snowboarding, Jacobellis' stats for the season are a testament to her true athleticism and driving willpower to be the best in the world. The Olympic silver medalist took four World Cup wins and seven World Cup podiums to finish second in the SBX and overall standings. Jacobellis also solidified her reign as queen of the SBX course when she won the X Games.
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photo Cheltenham Racecourse
Slovakian alpine skier narrowly beats Millie Knight to capture gold photo Getty Images