Lindsey Vonn certainly has a sense for the moment.
She won the super-G Wednesday at home on the Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek, Colo. — her first-ever win on an American course. It was her fourth straight World Cup victory. Pretty much every kid in Vail got the day off of school to watch Lindsey race; she sent them all home happy and, from the looks of it, with an autograph, too.
Beyond which — just as she was about to hop onto the top step of the podium at the post-race ceremony, Lindsey dropped to a knee with her skis and struck the “Tebow” pose. Why not? When in Colorado, do like everyone else.
As the Associated Press and Denver Post reported, Lindsey — always respectful — had asked Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow’s brother, Robby, who was at the race, if it would be okay if she won to, um, “Tebow.”
The Post reported that she said, “… If I won in Colorado, I would do it. Go Broncos! And I did it. Got to represent.”
Lindsey Vonn is the extraordinary American star who leaps out of the sports pages to become a cultural phenomenon. That’s all the more remarkable because skiing is hardly the NFL and it takes someone with verve and insight, someone like Vonn, to see the genius in striking the “Tebow” pose before a hometown crowd after winning a race.
For all that, her cross-over appeal is inextricably tied to and rooted in her skiing success. And what she is doing is not only rewriting the history books but revolutionizing the way a female skier approaches alpine racing.
It has been said here before and will be said again — Lindsey Vonn is the best the United States has ever produced.
That fourth straight win — Vonn is the first U.S. racer to ever win four straight. Her win gave the U.S. team its third win here in five races. Bode Miller won a downhill Friday; Ted Ligety won a giant slalom Tuesday.
The victory is the 46th of Vonn’s World Cup career. That ties her for third on the all-time list with Renate Goetschl of Austria. Vreni Schneider of Switzerland has 55. Austria’s Annemarie Moeser-Proell is tops with 62.
She now has 16 career World Cup super-G wins. That’s tied for most with Katja Seizinger of Germany for all-time most.
It was Vonn’s 14th win in her last 19 World Cup super-Gs. She has never finished lower than third — and, as the U.S. Ski Team pointed out, third only once.
Of course she leads the overall World Cup standings.
She said she was more nervous Wednesday than she had maybe ever been before any race, feeling the pressure of wanting to come through for her family, friends, community and country. “Anything other than winning would have been a catastrophe and people would have been really disappointed,” she allowed afterward.
She didn’t get a great start. About halfway down, she almost missed a blind gate. But she kept charging and at the bottom of the course she put the hammer down.
Her time: 1:10:68.
Fabienne Suter of Switzerland finished 37-hundredths of a second behind. Anna Fenninger of Austria took third.
Julia Mancuso finished eighth, Leanne Smith 11th.
Vonn is racing now on men’s skis. Every race. The course Wednesday was pretty much — not quite — the men’s super-G Birds of Prey. She flat-out said “the goal today” was “to really attack,” explaining, “I tried to ski like a guy.”
That, simply put, is the Lindsey Vonn revolution in women’s skiing.
She not only skis on men’s skis. She skis like a guy.
As she explained: “I watched the men’s race, the super-G here last week, and they’re just so dynamic and aggressive, and they really take it down the fall line, and that’s what I wanted to try today. I think I did that down the bottom. But I definitely was a little too straight in some parts — almost missed a couple gates, you know, trying to be too dynamic trying to push the line.”
She explained a couple days ago, in Lake Louise, Alberta, where she won two downhills and a super-G, that the balance in skiing means pushing the line between being aggressive and making mistakes.
Vonn, it must be understood, has re-defined the line. She is way more dynamic and way farther out on that line than any other woman in the world.
Can she be beaten? Of course.
Will she be beaten? Surely.
But — assuming she stays healthy — will she continue to do what no one else done?
That, too, seems inevitable.
This season promises to be unbelievable ride. It’s only December. The season has really just begun.