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Lindsey Vonn is being touted as “America’s best woman skier ever” according to Sports Illustrated, who featured the talented alpine ski racer on their special edition Olympic cover. She is competing in her third Winter Olympics in Vancouver and was recently named Colorado Athlete of the Year 2009.

Vonn won her first event on February 17, 2010. She captured GOLD in Women’s Downhill – see photos below. She fell in the Super-Combined on Thursday but won a Bronze medal in the Super-G competition on Saturday. She will compete in Giant Slalom on Wednesday February 24th.

The 25-year-old has already racked up nine victories in 2010: 5 in Downhill, 3 in Super-G and 1 in Super Combined. She made her World Cup debut at age 16 in Park City. Her first Olympic games were in 2002 where she had a sixth place finish in Combined.

In her second Winter Olympics in 2006, Vonn crashed during a training run and was evacuated by helicopter to Torino, where she was hospitalized overnight for a hip injury. She competed the following day and finished eighth in the downhill race. The gritty performance earned her the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award.

In mid-November Vonn said, “Right now I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.” She has been likened to skiing’s Michael Phelps. When asked about it she responded, “I’ve heard the comparison quite a few times and I don’t know about that.”

Lindsey was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota and was raised in the Twin Cities. Her family moved to Vail in the late 1990’s to facilitate her training. She married U.S. Ski Team athlete Thomas Vonn in 2007.

Vonn’s toughest competitor is her teammate Julia Mancuso, who has taken two silver medals in the Vancouver Games. She could well medal in Super-G and Giant Slalom too. Check out ‘Super Jules’ bikini photo gallery here.

View more photos and Lindsey Vonn’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo shoot on video below.

Check out Snowboard athlete Hannah Teter SI bikini photos here, and her Halfpipe teammate Gretchen Bleiler‘s swimsuit pics here.