|BORMIO, Italy (March 14) - |
McKinney, an historic figure in the world of women's competitive skiing, was excited to see Vonn, a member of a new class of skiers, succeed on such a large scale. McKinney won three discipline titles as well as the overall World Cup title in her career ('81 GS, '83 overall and GS, '84 SL).
photo Doug Haney US Ski Team
"It's great to see another generation being able to get up there and be consistently at the top of the world," McKinney said. "Lindsey's still very inspired and loves what she's doing and that's the way to get more done."
Vonn, who also won the World Cup downhill title this season, grew up watching different generations of great skiers make history and believes that an idol can inspire youth to succeed.
"I think that helps bring younger kids up when they have someone to look up to and have a role model and someone who's succeeding in the sport," Vonn said. "I think that every sport needs someone from their own country to succeed and inspire people."
The new champion had an idol of her own as she grew up skiing on Buck Hill, a tiny ski area located just outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
"Picabo Street was my idol and when she was racing, she was the Bode Miller of her time," Vonn said.
Vonn's new title as overall champion comes as an added bonus to her original goal of winning the World Cup downhill - an honor that also was awarded in the same Italian village, Bormio, to Street in 1995. Street also won the DH title in '96.
Vonn hoped to reach the heights that Street once did because, as she put it, "Picabo just dominated downhill and brought attention to ski racing."
She went on to add that she hoped her success in ski racing would leave an impression on young athletes, just as people like Street and McKinney left an impression on her.
"That is what our generation is doing now," Vonn said. "Inspiring the young kids that are coming up to want to ski race and to want to go out there and ski."
photo Getty Images