Sports

Lindsey Vonn gearing up for her second, third, fourth acts

PARK CITY, Utah—At the beginning of July, 39-year-old retired ski racer Lindsey Vonn sat down for an in-depth interview with the BBC. In it, the three-time Olympic medalist discussed sports, mental health, and the future of both as she sees it.

Growing up in Vail, CO, the downhill skiing specialist can be seen sharing the slopes of Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort, as she now calls Park City home. 

“I think the mental pressure that athletes have is so much more challenging than the physical pressure,” Vonn said to the BBC’s Katy Kay. “As athletes, we’re always in great shape. I’d be hard- pressed to find an athlete that wasn’t in prime physical condition. But I think it’s the mental aspect that changes everything. Everyone has pressure. But I feel that pressure is a privilege.” She believes this perspective has helped propel her to success. “If you use pressure to your advantage, it can be a huge driving force. But it’s so easy to let it get to you. Especially now with social media: When I won Vancouver in 2010, Facebook was just hitting its prime, and I don’t think I was faced with as much criticism as athletes are now. The amount of pressure that athletes have is quite incredible.”

“No athlete can say that you’re not going to look at your social media during the Olympics – it’s never gonna happen. You know every athlete is going to look. And all it takes is one comment that you read that will just play in your head over and over again – it’s happened to me many times. It’s hard to block out that noise.”

And harder still for teenagers. “It’s hard to teach a 17-year-old going to the Olympics to compartmentalize,” Vonn says. “I had depression, and I never told anyone until I was in my mid-20s… because I didn’t really have resources [like therapy].”

To meaningfully assist up-and-coming athletes, Vonn is presently managing a list of entities and events as long as one of her 210 cm race skis.

Girls especially seem to be the beneficiaries of her herculean efforts. For example, there was the Wild West Gala in Park City in August 2023, her foundation is providing scholarships left and right, and she is currently a part-owner of the Utah Royals WMLS Soccer Team.

On Tuesday, in an Olympic-related press conference held in Salt Lake City, it was revealed that Vonn will be one on a short list of VIPs heading to Paris on Monday to join the Utah Delegation as a featured presenter to the IOC for a final pitch on July 24 to get the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics back to the state.

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