With the 2009 season coming to a close, a number of athletes will be honored for their excellence as recipients of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Athlete of the Year Awards at the annual awards presentation Friday in Park City.
A trio of Lindseys top the podium this year. World Championship gold medalist skier Lindsey Vonn and ski-jumper Lindsey Van will be joined by World Cup snowboardcross champion Lindsey Jacobellis in receiving awards for their athletic success for the 2009 season.
Vonn Does It Again
Lindsey Vonn, who rewrote U.S. women’s alpine skiing history in 2009, is being honored for the second year in a row with the 2009 Alpine Athlete of the Year Award.
Vonn exceeded all expectations this year when she not only repeated her wins of the World Cup overall and downhill titles, but also took the title in super G and swept the speed events as she won the gold in downhill and super G at World Championships.
In late February, Vonn raised the bar further for U.S. women when she broke Tamara McKinney’s record of 18 World Cup wins, which was established in the 1980s. Vonn finished the season with a total of 22 career World Cup wins.
A nine-year member of the women’s U.S. Ski Team, Vonn is a native of Minnesota who got her start at tiny Buck Hill outside of Minneapolis. From Buck Hill to the U.S. Ski Team, Vonn has made it to the World Cup podium a staggering 47 times.
Van Makes History, Named Jumping Athlete of the Year
Lindsey Van, who put her name in the history books of women’s ski jumping in the 2009 season, was named the Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year.
Van, who has amassed 38 Continental Cup podiums during her athletic career, made history in the international women’s ski jumping world as she won gold during the first World Championship ski jumping event in which women competed.
In addition, the 24-year-old jumper won the 13th U.S. title of her ski jumping career. She is currently part of a lawsuit challenging the Olympic organizing committee to include women’s ski-jumping in the next Winter Games.
Jacobellis Dominates Snowboarding Again
Following her 2008 win of the award, Lindsey Jacobellis was once again named the USSA Snowboarding Athlete of the Year. Jacobellis had her best season to date as she won the World Cup snowboardcross title for the second time in her career World Cup snowboardcross title with five wins across a six-month schedule.
Jacobellis also repeated her X Games SBX gold, bringing her grand total to five wins throughout her career. Jacobellis then marked another U.S. title before finishing out the season with enough success on the World Cup to make her the most winningest athlete, male or female, in snowboardcross World Cup history.
Other award winners include Tod Lodwick as Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year and cross country trailblazer Kikkan Randall, who has been named USSA’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
In addition, Jeff Archibald was named 2009 Snowboarding International Coach of the Year. Archibald has been a key leader for the success of the men’s and women’s snowboarscross team this season, Athletes who worked with Archibald, including Jacobellis, excelled as no other snowboardcross team has in U.S. history. Three athletes Archibald coached finished the season at the top of SBX World Cup standings.
The 2009 Snowboarding Club of the Year was Stratton Mountain School which opened its doors in 1972 and has since produced over 29 Olympians and many national team athletes. SMS is renowned for the success of athletes that leave its snowboarding program, including World Cup SBX champion Lindsey Jacobellis, Ellery Hollingsworth and Louie Vito.
The USSA awards winners will receive their honors the evening of May 15 at USSA Congress 2008 in Park City with the top athlete being selected for the organizaton’s highest athlete honor, the Beck Award. Congrats to all.