The U.S. Olympic Committee Friday bestowed its highest honors on three U.S. Ski Team athletes on the eve of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) was named the 2009 USOC SportsWoman of the Year, nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) was honored as SportsMan of the Year and monoskier Stephani Victor (Park City, UT) earned Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year.
"Today we recognize and congratulate the best athletes that the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement had to offer in 2009," said USOC Chief of Sport Performance Mike English. "And it’s only fitting that the biggest stars over the past year will now help lead Team USA into competition in Vancouver beginning three weeks from today. These award recipients stood apart from a distinguished list of nominees both on and off the field of play and their accomplishments provide inspiration and excitement for all Americans."
SportsWoman of the Year Lindsey Vonn dominated in 2009 en route to becoming one of the most successful female skiers in U.S. history. The alpine skier was crowned overall champion of the 2009 Audi FIS World Cup, including titles in downhill and super G. The two-time Olympian recorded a U.S. record nine World Cup wins in a single season. She surpassed Tamara McKinney’s records for the most World Cup victories (19) and World Cup podium finishes (45). She capped her year with gold medals in the downhill and super G at the 2009 FIS World Championships in Val d’Isere, France. Friday she won her 29th career World Cup in Italy.
Vonn becomes the first U.S. Ski Team athlete to win SportsWoman of the Year since Picabo Street in 1998.
"This is a huge honor, especially with the Olympics just a few weeks away,” Vonn said. “This past year has been amazing and because of that, it's been so cool to see how many people are getting excited about alpine skiing. Regardless of whether I win a race or crash, I get so many notes of encouragement from fans. That says something special about the Olympic spirit. It isn't something that lives in just the athletes; it also lives in everyone who supports what we love."
"Not only is Lindsey an accomplished World Champion athlete, but she is an amazing role model and motivator for youth," said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt. "She is a great representative of our sport, our country and the Olympic movement."