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Chris Chase

Skier Lindsey Vonn poised to become star of Vancouver Olympics

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Get used to hearing the name Lindsey Vonn. When the torch is lit at the Vancouver Olympics next February, Vonn is poised to be the breakout American star of the Games. The 24-year-old skiing sensation recently won her second straight overall World Cup crown, the first time an American woman has ever accomplished that feat.

Vonn clinched her title after winning the downhill competition at the World Cup Finals in Switzerland this week. For an encore, she won the super-giant slalom on Thursday, her 22nd World Cup championship (a record for an American). It was her fourth straight World Cup victory in that event.

It's been an interesting few weeks for Vonn, who earned two gold medals at the world championships in mid-February. While celebrating the second of those victories, Vonn cut her hand on a champagne bottle and required tendon surgery. Two weeks later, Vonn was back on the slopes, winning the super-G at a World Cup meet despite the fact that her splinted hand had to be taped to her ski pole.

Without a big figure skating name like Kerrigan, Kwan and Cohen to attract the NBC spotlight in Vancouver (no American woman has placed in the last two World Figure Skating Championships), Vonn, with her tremendous talent, good looks and bubbly personality, seems poised to become the media darling of the 2010 Olympics.

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