Vonn Inspires 2012 Youth Olympians

2012-01-19 12:03

INNSBRUCK, Austria (Jan. 19) - Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alpine racer Alex Leever (Vail, CO) received a little extra inspriation Thursday as Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) met him at the finish following the first run of the  2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games giant slalom. Vonn spent Thursday in Innsbruck meeting and inspring members of the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics international delegation, including International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge. Leever, who was 15th after the first run moved up to 11th for his second top 15 performance of the inaugural Games.


  • Youth Olympic Games Ambassador Lindsey Vonn met with athletes competing at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games
  • The 2010 Olympic gold medalist spent time speaking with IOC President Jacques Rogge
  • Vonn was able to watch the men's giant slalom, where fellow Vail local Alex Leever finished 11th
  • Vonn also met Julia Mueller-Ristine of Aspen, CO, who is representing the U.S. in women's alpine
  • A packed room of a few hundred young athletes from across the globe listened to Vonn speak on Olympic values and motivation
  • Vonn toured the Olympic Village and took part in a healthy cooking class with YOG athletes
  • The inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games conclude Sunday, Jan. 22
  • Vonn's stop in Innsbruck was prior to World Cup giant slalom and slalom races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Jan. 21-22


Alex Leever

I expected to see my family at the finish, but then there was Lindsey, with my mom and dad. It's really cool that she took the time between training and her next World Cup races to come to the Youth Olympics. Seeing one of the best skiers in the world definitely makes you want to go a little faster and work a little harder.

Julia Mueller-Ristine
Oh my gosh, she’s an amazing speaker and athlete. At one point, she was where I am now, and I‘m trying to work my way up in my sport to get where she is today. I think everyone on the U.S. Ski Team is amazing, but Lindsey definitely stands out.

Lindsey Vonn
The Youth Olympics are a great opportunity for young athletes. It's incredible to be exposed to top level international competition at such a young age, but it's also incredible to experience all of the cultural opportunities. It's about meeting new people, sharing experiences and learning Olympic values. I wish there was something like this when I was a kid.

Picabo Street was my role model growing up and she's just been such an inspiration to me. She was the reason that I wanted to become an Olympian and hopefully I can be like Picabo and try and motivate and inspire young athletes.

I think it's important to try and encourage kids and teach the core values that go along with the Olympic Games. Hopefully I can have an impact on the future Olympians.