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American skier Lindsey Vonn to receive Princess of Asturias award

Lindsay Vonn.
Lindsay Vonn. / AFP
  • She is the first woman to win the prize in ten years and just the sixth overall, following in the footsteps of Isinbayeva, Graff, Boulmerka, Navratilova and Arantxa

For the first time in ten years, a woman has been awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports. Lindsey Vonn is the skier with the highest number of victories (82) in the history of the Alpine Ski World Cup, four wins off the absolute record of Swede Ingemar Stenmark (86), as well as the highest number of victories in the downhill (39) and supergiant (27) disciplines.

At 34 years old, and after victories in all alpine disciplines as well as eight world medals (two of them gold) and three Olympic medals (gold in descent in Vancouver 2010), Vonn brought an end to her career after participating in the supergiant and in the descent at Are where she claimed bronze after overcoming the knee problems that plagued her since the beginning of the season.

Members of the jury for the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports highlighted her achievements but also the "ability to overcome adversity" of the American who in February, after feeling unable to continue performing at an elite level without pain, opted to retire. "Unfortunately, my body and my state of mind are not up to the task. After many sleepless nights, I ended up accepting that I couldn't continue in competitive skiing. In the last few years I had more injuries and operations than I could imagine. I have always tried to go beyond the limit, which has allowed me to experience incredible successes, but also serious accidents." One of them, a fall in Schladming in 2013 caused a ruptured ligament of the right knee with a fractured tibia.

Theresa Zabell from Malaga, president of the Ecomar Foundation, proposed her candidacy. The skier will be only the sixth woman to win in the category in 33 editions. The last one was ten years ago, the Russian athlete Yelena Isinbáyeva, while the before her came Steffi Graff in 1999, just one year after Arantxa Sánchez Vicario had won it. The first woman to open the list of winners was Martina Navratilova in 1994, 365 days before the Algerian athlete Hassiba Boulmerka.