Lindsey Vonn, reigning queen of Alpine has already surpassed her childhood heroine’s career performance on several levels. Vonn’s two overall World Cup titles (2008, 2009), two world championship titles (downhill, super-G) in 2009 and 25 World Cup victories heading into the Olympic season are tops all-time among all U.S. female Alpine skiers. She also became the first U.S. skier since Phil Mahre in 1983 to win the Skieur d’Or (Golden Skier) award as the skier of the year, male or female. What is astonishing is that she remains practically unknown in the United States.
That is about to change. Lindsey Vonn, America’s great Winter Olympic hope is featured on the front of SI’s Winter Olympic preview issue, which hit newsstands Wednesday.
But Vonn’s semi-provocative pose has drawn the predictable ire from those who claim that it objectifies her; she’s an athlete, not a sex symbol.
They have a point in taking issue with SI; the magazine rarely features women athletes on the cover (over the last 60 years researchers have shown that about 4% of all SI covers have portrayed women) and its annual swimsuit issue has been a focus of protests for decades. But Vonn’s cover is different; the pose at least resembles the tuck stance that skiers take when barreling down the hill. It’s exaggerated, of course, but not gratuitously so. That make-up however…now that’s a different story.