Photo Credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP
Lindsey Vonn, the 25-year-old alpine skier, has already won gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and now she's going for her second (8 p.m. ET on NBC) in the women's Super-G (the event is a mix of downhill and giant slalom racing). Overcoming a painful, much-publicized shin injury and an unusually bumpy course, Vonn prevailed on Wednesday -- and despite crashing in a race yesterday, she's favored to keep winning medals as the Winter Games unfold.
Many call Vonn the best female skier in American history. Shortly after her first win, she told reporters she hoped to inspire young skiers. At age 9, Vonn was thrilled to meet Picabo Street in a Minnesota ski shop. "I want to get kids involved," she said. "And I want to be a good role model like Picabo was to me."
Who wouldn't want their daughters to develop Vonn's fearlessness and determination? Here's one teensy thing, though: She also happens to be a Baywatch-caliber beauty. Of course, I realize Vonn's pin-up looks don't help her negotiate slaloms or speed down slopes. She's earned her "best female skier" rep through her athleticism. It's certainly not her fault that she's also very photogenic. But honestly, as a mom of two daughters, I wish she weren't.
You see, these days, looking good is an all-consuming goal for so many young girls. Boys aren't immune to the phenomenon, but at least they're not up against a clothes-and-makeup marketing machine that preys on girls' insecurities about what they look like.
How awesome is it that -- for these two Olympic weeks, at least -- our school-age daughters can see women lauded for their abilities alone? However, I suspect plenty of those girls might also yearn to look as good as Vonn does in a bikini. (Her Sports Illustrated photos were aimed at adults, of course. But any kid with a computer can study them.)
With her inspiring story, Vonn is still a valuable female role model. She's actually had her eye on Olympic gold since childhood; at 11, she was so determined to excel that her family moved from Minnesota to Vail, Colo., for tougher training. (When I was 11, I was bouncing around my bedroom to "Eye of the Tiger.") Vonn having a sexy side isn't something she should be blamed for. Her looks are God-given, and her figure was earned the old-fashioned way (physical fitness). But I still wish she wasn't quite so…perfect! Girls today are no doubt inspired by her, but boy, they have one tiny bikini to fill.
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Do you think Lindsey Vonn is the perfect role model? Chime in below!