Cynthia "Cindy" Nelson, who was born in Duluth and raised in Lutsen, Minn., is the only American woman to be named to four U.S. Olympic ski teams.
Nelson began skiing at the age of three and began competing at the age of 8. She was coached by her mother until she was 10 when Heli Schaeller became her coach. Under Schaeller's coaching she made her first Junior National Team when she was 12. She subsequently made four more junior Olympic Teams.
She was named to an Olympic team for the first time in 1972, but she did not compete because of a hip injury. In 1974, Nelson become the first U.S. racer (man or woman) ever to win a World Cup in downhill.
Nelson won the bronze medal in the downhill at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. She competed in the 1980 Olympics and won the silver medal in the downhill at the 1982 World Championships.
After she suffered a knee injury in December of 1983, her career appeared to be over. But she recovered to compete in the 1984 Winter Olympics and World Cup races. She had a fifth-place finish in the giant slalom in the final World Cup event of the 1984 season.
Nelson, who competed in all five alpine disciplines, retired in 1985 after 18 years of international competition. During her career, she won seven World Cup races, had 26 top-three finishes and 123 top-ten finishes.
She was the first American to win medals in four major alpine championships and won the first ever World Cup Super G race. She earned the title of National Champion seven times.
Nelson is a member of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame and the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.