WHISTLER, British Columbia (SI.com) --
Now she can call herself a gold medalist as well.
Vonn won the women's downhill Wednesday with a daring and spectacular run at Whistler Creekside. Her winning time of one minute, 44.19 seconds makes her the first American woman to earn gold in an Olympic downhill.
"I was so nervous and so happy that I made it down," said Vonn, fighting back tears. "This is the best day of my life. It's awesome."
Four years ago, Vonn limped to the start of the Olympic Downhill in Turin, Italy, deeply in pain from a terrifying training crash that left her lower back and hip bruised and sore. She skied anyway, and finished a game but disappointed eighth. Four years later, her time arrived.
This was Vonn 's first race since she clinched the World Cup super-G title with a win on Jan. 31; she suffered a shin injury Feb. 2 during a pre-Olympic practice run. She didn't ski for over a week to help her shin recover and was aided even more when weather cancelled most official training sessions in Vancouver.
For a minute-by-minute account of Vonn's historic day, see below:
"Several skiers had come through the interview mixed zone and called
"Vonn not only skied brilliantly but endured almost 15 minutes in delays from crashes and TV timeouts."