Lindsey Vonn: ‘The Olympics are exactly what the world needs right now’

Exclusive: Olympic champion skier Lindsey Vonn spoke on Olympic Day about her excitement ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021, how she moved on after retirement and what makes her a successful business woman.

By Ed Knowles and Alessandro Poggi
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

With one month to go to the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony, alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn says that the upcoming Summer Games in 2021 will inspire the world.

“I think the Olympics are exactly what the world needs right now. I think everyone needs some hope and inspiration. And the Olympics, I think, are going to do that,” the 34-year-old said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday (23rd June) to mark Olympic Day.

Trying to qualify for the Games during a pandemic has been a challenge for many athletes dealing with pressure and anxiety.

"As athletes, we always have to be adapting to our surroundings and finding a way to perform at our best despite everything that's going on. And I think the more support that you have, the better in those situations," Vonn explained.

Olympic and Paralympic Games worldwide sponsor Allianz launched a Support Dog Squad campaign to provide this support.

The financial services company will offer a squad of over 50 trained emotional support dogs to international skateboarders training in Los Angeles in a programme designed to enhance their mental health, ease loneliness and increase optimism.

The former skier loves dogs and knows how their support can be crucial:

"I had my dog Lucy with me at the [PyeongChang] Olympics in 2018, so I know exactly the feeling. And I think that will be incredibly helpful during these Games," she said.

The most successful female skier in World Cup history is looking forward to watching the Summer Olympics.

“It's going to be so exciting to have new sports to watch, like skateboarding, for example.

"I'm excited to watch Leticia [Bufoni], she's a friend of mine, and Simone [Biles], and the women's soccer team.

"There's so many amazing track and field athletes and swimmers. The US has definitely a lot of depth in every single sport, so I think there'll be no lack of inspiring stories to watch."

If she wasn't one of the all-time greats in her sport, in which summer discipline she would have liked to compete?

"I would love to play tennis. I mean, I don't think I would have excelled. But if I were to choose any other sport, I would definitely choose tennis.

"I find it a great mix of physicality and mental skill. It's kind of like a high-speed game of chess. And so I love that."

Moving on after retirement

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic champion is a born competitor, but now she feels she has moved on after retiring from competitive skiing in 2019.

“It was definitely a bigger challenge than I expected mentally… getting over the fact that I wasn't competing anymore.

“[But] I feel like every day is a new chance to live my life to the fullest and I get to do things that I wasn't ever able to do before. And that's really fun.”

“Of course the thought has crossed my mind [to return]. But my knees just aren't [up to it]. There's no way they can do it.”

After hanging up her skis, Lindsey Vonn keeps being a very active woman.

As it says in her Instagram profile, the American doesn’t ‘do slow.’

Her feed is packed full of work outs, mountain bikes, horse riding, and catching waves.

"I'm in good shape now, but I'm in retirement shape," she admitted

"I train hard because I enjoy it. But, you know, I'm working one hour per day, whereas before I was working out five or six hours a day. So it's not it's not the same at all."

The 36-year-old recently spent time with Hollywood stars: she exercised with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and went skiing with Hugh Jackman in Utah.

What other celebrities she would like to train with?

"I would like to work out with [Roger] Federer or go skiing with him, or do something fun with him. He's a great guy and always been really supportive of my career as a whole."

"I would love to take some basketball athletes skiing. I think that would be funny and fun."

Vonn also started her own production company, working on her memoir, and looking after her dogs Lucy, Bear, and Leo, these two the latest addition to the family

“I have three dogs. My squad got quite big but I'm stopping at three. I think three is enough.”

What has made her a successful woman also outside of sports?

"I think preparation and work ethic are two things that I really take from ski racing and apply it to my current life. You know, I always felt like what separated me from the rest of the field was my preparation and how hard I worked in the gym and, you know, how I analyzed the course and you know how just how prepared I was. And I feel the same way now in business."