In 2009, American Lindsey Van, of Park City, UT, became the first World Champion in women’s ski jumping after winning the first World Championships to allow women to compete. She’s the only American (male or female) to win a Gold at a World Ski Jumping Championships.

Lindsey became the instant face and spokeswoman for the fight to get women’s ski jumping added to the Olympic Winter Games program.

She and her Women’s Ski Jumping USA teammate, Jessica Jerome, courageously were the first to sign on to a gender discrimination lawsuit against the Vancouver Organizing Committee in 2008. They risked alienation and retribution from the International Ski Federation and the International Olympic Committee. They soon were joined by 13 additional ski jumpers from around the world.

Photo by: DanCampbellPhotography.com

Photo by: DanCampbellPhotography.com

Lindsey is a 13-time U.S. national ski jumping champion (normal and large hills) and she has more than 50 top-three finishes internationally, including eight wins. She also holds the North American women’s record with a jump of 171 meters. Before the Olympic Games in 2010, she held the hill record for men and women in Vancouver, which was 105.5 meters.

She was born in Detroit, Michigan and has a twin brother named Brandon. Her father Barry was a cargo ship captain and rarely was home in the first couple years of the twins’ lives. Barry and Lindsey’s mother Miranda decided to leave Detroit for a new start – Park City, Utah. They both loved to ski and wanted to share that love of the outdoors with their kids. Soon the twins started skiing on their own and at age 7, Lindsey discovered ski jumping.

Since she was 9, Lindsey has dreamed of being an Olympian. She has been ski jumping for 20 years — that’s about 20,000 jumps. She skis nearly 60 mph down an in-run and hurls herself off the ski jump, going sometimes as far as the length of two football fields.

Lindsey has had her fair share of injuries. She’s endured back-to-back summer surgeries on her ankle (last year) and knee (this year). Last year she finished 5th in the world despite having mono for half the season. Keeping her body healthy is her No. 1 priority heading toward Sochi.

But what she’s most proud of so far in her life is her decision to become a bone marrow donor. In 2011, she learned she was a bone marrow match for a man suffering from Leukemia. She was able to donate twice that year and later learned that the man’s cancer was in remission. She hopes to be able to meet her recipient one day soon.


7 Responses to “ABOUT LINDSEY VAN”

  1. Suzanne G Says:

    Lindsey, I just saw your bio/story on Rock Center. I had no idea women weren’t allowed to compete in the ski jump in the Olympics.
    I just want to tell you, your teammates, and your coach that I will be watching with pride when you all compete in Sochi! Way to stick to
    your guns and make a difference for other women and, especially,
    for opening that door for future women ski jumpers. You are a wonderful role model for young girls. Go for it! I’ll be watching and cheering!!
    Suzanne G in NC

  2. Just saw your piece on Rock Center and cried when I found out that you will be able to finally compete. You go girl, you’re a role model for every girl out there.

  3. jeff nystrom Says:

    I watched you compete (on TV) in Oslo. That prompted me to read this bio…I am glad I did. Happy Landings!

  4. Matthew Yonan Says:

    Lindsey, we just watched the Ready to Fly DVD and we are very inspired by your determination and passion for women’s ski jumping. Thank you for fighting for your dream and blazing the trail for so many women to follow your path. We will be cheering you and the team on in Sochi! Congratulations!

  5. Johna Till Johnson Says:

    Just read the NYT piece. You are amazing, an all-star and a hero. I wish you the very best for 2014!

  6. Martin Fogelberg Says:

    Today I watched “ready to fly for Olympics in Sotji ” on Swedish TV. It was the first time ever I got in contact with skijump for women. The program was fantastic and you Lindsey are a great person for sure. Now I will follow the skijump in Sotji and keep both my thumps for you !

  7. William (Bill) Harrison Says:

    Hi Lindsey,

    It’s been a long time since you posted here so I have no idea if you will ever see this, but, I just saw your movie on Netflix, and, I was so blown away, I just had to reach out. I watched the Sochi Olympics a few months ago on TV and heard it was the first time women were allowed to ski jump, but, I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea who you were. You don’t know me either, but, you make me proud to be American. You deserve the pride of our entire nation and women everywhere. You’ve earned a place in history alongside other great women and all those who’ve fought for what’s right through the ages. You’ve made the world a better place for everyone today and for generations to come. I hope you will compete again so I can cheer you on. In any case, I’m cheering for you now. You’re truly an amazing person.

    Keep flying high, champ.

    Bill Harrison

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