PARK CITY, UT – World Championship gold medalists Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) will be honored for athletic excellence as recipients of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Athlete of the Year Awards at the annual awards presentation May 15 at USSA Congress 2008 in Park City.
The trio will be joined by World Championship silver medalist Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) and World Cup snowboardcross champion Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) in receiving awards for their athletic success for the 2009 season.
“In a year like this with 14 World Championship medals, five World Cup titles and 32 wins, it’s hard to pick award recipients,” said USSA Vice President, Athletics, Luke Bodensteiner. “It’s a real credit to the hard work of these athletes and their teams.”
Vonn Does It Again
Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who rewrote U.S. women’s alpine skiing history again 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 in 2009 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.
Lodwick Honored For Nordic Success
Following his decision to come out of retirement at the age of 32, Lodwick changed the world of U.S. nordic combined competition and, for his success, was named Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year.
Lodwick’s return was marked with World Cup podiums, but it was the athlete’s unprecedented success at World Championships that pushed the U.S. Team forward as an international strength in the sport. Lodwick kicked off world Championships with a win in a mass start event. It was the first major competitive success for the four-time Olympian and seven-time World Championship team member. But Lodwick had more in store as he earned another World Championship gold, only two days after his first, in a Gundersen event.
Worlds Success Marks St. Onge For Award
St. Onge found his stride in 2009 and, with World Cup wins and the first aerials World Championship win for a U.S. man in 10 years, he was tabbed to receive the 2009 Freestyle Athlete of the Year Award.
St. Onge warmed up the season with a couple of top-10 finishes before landing his first World Cup win since the 2006 season at the Visa Freestyle International at Deer Valley Resort. The aerialist marked off another win in Moscow where scaffolding was erected downtown and athletes competed in front of tens of thousands of fans. But, it was his World Championship win that put all eyes on St. Onge as an athlete at the top of his game. St. Onge finished the season out second in the World Cup standings.
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.
Worlds Medalist Randall Named XC Award Recipient
For the second year in a row, cross country trailblazer Kikkan Randall has been named USSA’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Randall, who broke into U.S. women’s cross country history in 2008 as the first woman in the 27-year history of modern cross country World Cup to win, took the success factor up a notch in 2009 when she became the first U.S. woman to earn a medal at World Championships, winning silver in the freestyle sprint.
Randall also took the U.S. title in the classic sprint and was just shy of the World Cup podium as she finished fourth, along with teammate Liz Stephen, in the team sprint at the site of the 2010 Olympics.
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.
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.