Olympic Champion and winningest female alpine ski racer of all time Lindsey Vonn was recently featured in a TIME special project called “Firsts”—about women who are changing the world, alongside legends like Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Ellen DeGeneres, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Serena Williams, Aretha Franklin, Danica Patrick and Sheryl Sandberg.
As the piece introduces these incredible women, it reads, “She broke the glass ceiling.”
“What a jagged image we use for women who achieve greatly, defining accomplishment in terms of the barrier rather than the triumph. There she is up where the air is thin, where men still outnumber women, but where the altitude is awesome. Our goal with Firsts, which we will continue to update as new barriers are broken, is for every woman and girl to find someone whose presence in the highest reaches of success says to her that it is safe to climb, come on up, the view is spectacular.”
Vonn is listed as the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in downhill skiing, and in the piece she talks about how her heroine—and Olympic gold medalist—Picabo Street and how she waited three hours in line to get Street’s autograph in Minnesota. That meeting was a catalyst for Vonn, as Picabo was the reason she wanted to become a ski racer. She walked away with a purpose, and her father helped her create a plan to make that dream a reality.
Release courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard.