Lindsay Vonn’s Path To The Olympics Started During Her Childhood

Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

It's hard to not be intrigued by Lindsey Vonn: at only 33 years old, she's the most successful female skier in history, and, needless to say, she has had a tremendously successful career. Considering this might be her last year competing in the Olympic games, viewers and fans are ready to soak up as much Vonn action as they can get. But aside from being aware that she's a expert on the slopes, most people don't know that much about her, and many are curious to find out more. Like, where did she grow up? How did she become such an incredible skier? Where did Lindsey Vonn go to school? How does she make flying down a mountain look that easy?

Like most Olympic athletes, Vonn has spent her entire life training to become the best of the best in her field. She grew up in the Twin Cities metropolitan area in Burnsville, Minnesota. She started skiing pretty much as soon as she could walk — as in, she was on skis by age two. She started her training in downhill skiing at the renowned Buck Hill Ski Racing School with Erich Sailer, who has coached many famous skiers. Because her father and grandfather were competitive skiers, this wasn't strange for her family — in fact, it was expected.

Ker Robertson/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Because training was such a huge part of her life, Vonn didn't have much time for traditional schooling. Though she did attend regular school, Vonn told Elle in 2017 that she didn't go much due to her training schedule — eventually, she was homeschooled for two years, and completed her academic education attending the University of Missouri High School, an online program that teaches grades K-12 and offers more than 150 courses.

As far as learning went, for Vonn, it was always all about skiing. Throughout her childhood, she spent a lot of time skiing in Colorado, where she attended lessons at Ski Club Vail, an alpine racing program. She eventually moved into the age class program and skied under Alpine Ski Coaches Reid Phillips, Chip Woods, Todd A. Rash, and Gus Pernetz. All of these coaches helped her perfect and hone her skills, and in the late '90s, she permanently moved to Chicago to ski only at Ski Club Vail. At 14 years old, Vonn made history by winning the slalom at Trofeo Topolino in Italy — she was the first American woman to win. In 2002, she was selected for Team USA to compete as a skier in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, and, well... the rest is history.

And I mean literally history. Vonn hasn't stopped making history since her career began: She is one of only two female skiers to win four World Cup overall championships. She was the first American woman to ever win the gold medal in downhill skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She has a record eight World Cup season titles in the downhill discipline, five titles in super-G, and three consecutive titles in the combined. She won her 20th World Cup crystal globe title in 2016, an all-time record for both men and women. She has a combined 79 World Cup victories, which is an all-time women's record. She's the most successful skier in American history, and her hard work is honestly inspiring.

Vonn is competing in the 2018 Winter Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea, which is especially exciting for fans since she might be retiring after this year. Knowing her backstory and how she dedicated herself to training from such a young age, it makes her performances in the 2018 Winter Olympics even more inspirational to watch.