Think about this: .56 seconds. It’s a half a second. Barely enough time for you to blink. But .56 seconds is a lot of time in ski racing. Today, Lindsey Vonn—America’s much-hyped ski racer—clinched an Olympic gold medal in the women’s downhill at Whistler. And she beat out the silver medalist—who just happened to be her rival, American Julia Mancuso—by .56 seconds.
Lindsey’s time was one minute, 44.19 seconds. Julia crossed the finish line in 1:44:75. Austria’s Elisabeth Georgl earned the bronze with a time of 1:45.65.
“I couldn’t believe the feeling when I looked up and saw my name with No. 1 next to it,” Vonn told the New York Times. “It was an unbelievable feeling. I didn’t know what to do, so I just fell down.”
A week ago, Lindsey announced a painful bruise on her shin that could have prevented her from even competing this week at the Olympics. Some speculated that perhaps the shin was a media ploy—then, if she won, she would have overcome adversity; or if she didn’t, she’d have an excuse.
“My leg hurt throughout and it still hurts,” Vonn said. “There was so much going on and so much adrenaline, I just blocked it out.”
No ski racers have been more covered by the media since Bode Miller mouthed off on 60 Minutes. Skiing magazine included. We’ve been covering both Lindsey and Julia relentlessly in the build up to the Olympics. We waited two months to do an interview about being interviewed with Lindsey, did an exclusive interview with Lindsey’s shin, we showed you Lindsey’s video from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, we wrote about the catfight between Julia and Lindsey, we even told you about the banana bread Lindsey baked last night. And let us just say this: We’re so glad she won. Because, apparently, the hype was worth it.