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Olympic Star Skier Lindsey Vonn: Can She Be Both Role Model and Swimsuit Model?

By Romi Lassally |

340x_vonn_01Shock horror! The U.S. Olympic team’s star skier Lindsey Vonn is not only an incredible athlete, but she’s also taken (gasp) endorsement money and (gasp, gasp) posed scantily clad in Sports Illustrated.  Does the fact that she’s a swimsuit model negate her value as a role model?

As we wait on pins and needles (and weather) to see how injured Olympic darling Lindsey Vonn will fare in the women’s alpine opener,  we have down time to contemplate her recent  shin vs. skin headlines.  With a potentially Olympic-dream-breaking injury, there’s been an endless stream of “Will she or won’t she compete” speculation.  With her recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo spread, there’s also been a pretty steady stream of “why is she objectifying herself in a bikini?”  talk as well.   So what’s a hot, blonde, athlete to do? And how are we supposed to feel about all of this?

Observing from the sidelines (as both woman and mother), my knee jerk reaction was “Shame on you Lindsey.  Put some clothes on.” I couldn’t help it – I looked from the Sports Illustrated cover she graced one week (an honor), to the infamous bathing suit edition (exploitation?) she was in the following week and wished it was only her athletic achievement in the spotlight — Not just for me, but for my impressionable kids who are following the winter games with gusto.

But it was really a “shame on me” moment — I never would have felt this way if it was a male athlete stripping down to sell himself or someone’s product. The list is long of shirtless, beefcake male Olympians (not to mention the regular pro’s out there) and I certainly never complained when Michael Phelps found any (and every) opportunity to show some skin.   Never.

I also had to take a step back and acknowledge that Lindsey had only posed in a bikini (for a sports magazine!) and that this wasn’t former Olympians Amanda Beard or Katerina Witt posing in the buff as they did for Playboy.   Also, as Lindsey’s teammate, Kaylin Richardson said,

“To see a beautiful athlete among all those rail-thin models… She’ll have those pictures all her life. Her kids can say, ‘Mom was super hot and super fast.’”

I’m with Kaylin – despite the fact that there are definitely mixed messages here to deal with,  I think we have to accept and celebrate Lindsey as super hot and super fast. It’s the way it is in our culture that unfortunately gives equal weight to beauty as it does to ability and talent.

Let’s just hope that nasty shin injury heals so she has the option to be both.

*And let’s hope she doesn’t pose for Playboy…then all bets are off.

Photo source: Sports Illustrated

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About Romi Lassally


Romi Lassally

Romi Lassally is the founder of and the author ofTrue Mom Confessions: Real Moms Get Real.

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8 thoughts on “Olympic Star Skier Lindsey Vonn: Can She Be Both Role Model and Swimsuit Model?

  1. Jenny says:

    At least she’s a healthy weight with muscles. Much better than stick-thin models with no musculature at all.

  2. Betsy says:

    I hate it. Why does she have to be hot. She is lovely. Hot takes that to another, unnecessary, degrading realm. And what I hate the most is the airbrushing. No man or woman would be caught dead skiing 80 mph down an icy mountain on twigs like that. I’m sorry, but the denial of a female athlete’s hard -earned muscles, just because big muscles aren’t sexy, is the real crime here.

  3. Allie says:

    I don’t think posing for Sports Illustrated, or even Playboy, is that big of a deal. If anything I think it’s great for girls to see that someone can be considered attractive if they’re fit and muscular instead of being another size 0 with enormous breasts.

  4. jeannesager says:

    She doesn’t bug me as much as Danica Patrick to be honest – her Go Daddy commercials make me cringe!

  5. [...] Olympic Star Skier Lindsey Vonn: Can She Be Both Role Model and Swimsuit Model? [...]

  6. GP says:

    I agree with Allie, and I don’t even mind size 0 with big breasts…as long as they’re real. Women need to be smart enough to know that it takes ALL kinds of women to make the world turn. Look at all the fat, beastly women who are married anyway. SOMEBODY wants them. People don’t just go for looks. Everyone has something to offer, so don’t deny the hot girls their hotness. And, don’t think that’s all they have to offer, either. We do have to be honest with our sons and daughters about marketing, airbrushing, etc. and the real versus the fantasy, so they understand.

  7. [...] posted here: Olympic Star Skier Lindsey Vonn: Can She Be Both Role Model and … Post a comment | Trackback [...]

  8. v.s.gaudio says:

    di V.S.Gaudio

    Lindsey Vonn è una potente longilinea mesomorfa, che innalza, addirittura, l’indice costituzionale medio dell’habitus meso-endomorfo che è 53 e quindi dovrebbe avere almeno un podice da 98 , 99 centimetri, insomma da 39”.
    Gli indici esatti sarebbero questi: a) indice costituzionale: 98(00)[podice x 100] :180[altezza] = 54.44; b)indice del pondus: 180 – [podice 98+ peso 80]= 2, cioè Altissimo(il valore è decrescente da 11 a 0).
    Il rilassamento dinamico di questo potente macchinario ad alta resistenza muscolare e cardiorespiratoria, è visibile nell’immagine che ferma in modo assoluto il “salto del canguro”(Kangaroo-jump) che, detto tra noi, è uno degli esercizi locomotori più frequenti nell’allenamento di chi scia.
    Il pondus con gli indici 54.44 e 2 esprime al massimo del patagonismo il suo rilassamento dinamico , che un visionatore di Morin attento già vede nel “Kangaroo-jump” e ne gode tutto l’ eccesso di tensione ( che c’è in uno sport come lo sci) che, una Nvolta conclusa la discesa, si “rilassa” con tutta la massa, la resistenza,la forza muscolare e l’alta mobilità, tesa al livello più alto durante la gara.

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