Lindsey Vonn “hated it” the last time the World Alpine Skiing Championships were in the U.S., in 1999 in Vail, Colo.
“I was a course worker, and I hated it because I had to wake up at four in the morning to get on the course and help preparing the slope,” Vonn said, according to the 2015 World Championships website.
Vonn, then known as Lindsey Kildow, was also mischievous.
When she was a promising racer for Ski Club Vail, Lindsey Kildow went to a local ski shop with her dad, bought a replica U.S. Ski Team uniform and passed herself off as a team member during the 1999 world alpine championships.
“It was really cool,” recalls Kildow, who was 14 during those world championships. “I actually got into the finish corral. ‘I don’t have my credential, I’m on the ski team, see my uniform?’ I got all these autographs. It was pretty funny.”
There’s no mistaking Vonn as the star of the World Championships in their return to Vail (and Beaver Creek) the next two weeks.
Vonn, who broke the women’s World Cup wins record last month, got the nerves out of the way with her first downhill training run on a windy Raptor course Monday afternoon.
“It’s a different feeling than I expected,” Vonn said on Eurosport. “I’m much more relaxed than I anticipated.”
She was fourth fastest in the first of three scheduled training runs before Friday’s downhill race, .62 behind countrywoman Stacey Cook.
“Today, the times really don’t matter at all,” Vonn, who stood up and slowed before crossing the finish, said on Eurosport. “It’s just a matter of getting a good run on the hill and kind of getting a feeling for the downhill. … I was definitely taking it easy.”
Vonn’s first medal event of the World Championships will be Tuesday’s super-G, the same race where she crashed at the 2013 World Championships, requiring the first of two knee surgeries that forced her to miss the Sochi Olympics. She is a gold-medal favorite.
“I’m not nervous,” Vonn said on Eurosport. “I don’t feel pressure.”