Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
EXCLUSIVE QUOTES: Vonn on medals, injuries, Shiffrin, racing men and more.
American ski legend Lindsey Vonn was interviewed on Austrian TV on Monday, speaking German throughout the Sport & Talk show in Salzburg.
After picking up a superb Val d’Isère Super G victory in December, Vonn has written off her FIS World Cup title chances this year and gone all in on Games gold.
At 33, she has suffered several substantial injuries over the course of her career, however she believes her mental strength will still power her to more gold medals.
All translated quotes below.
About her racing schedule:
“I’ve made the decision not to race in Italy nor Flachau. My knee isn’t so good and I need more time to get it right. I want to be ready for Bad Kleinkirchheim. From now to the Games, my goal is, as always, to win, but also to be in a good rhythm and not risk too much. I must be ready; I must be fit.
“I haven’t entered a lot of races this season but I’m happy with my level of skiing. After many months injured, my win in Val d’Isère was key, I knew I could win there.”
About her injuries:
“I can feel my right knee and my arm. I feel my right arm every time I’m in the start box because I still have a metal rod inside. I don’t usually feel my back but I did hurt it in St. Moritz.
“My body might be broken but my mind is focused. I know when I’m ready to ski; I know when I’m in the right mindset. I always try to resume skiing when I’m ready. I know what I can do – I won’t ski when I’m not strong enough.
“It’s a lot of work to come back, a lot of training, and that’s why I share it on social media for people to see.”
About her photographic memory:
“Visualizing the slopes is something I did when training for Vancouver and I’ve done the same this summer ahead of Pyeongchang. I always run the slope in my mind. It helps a lot and things come automatically to me once I’m racing.”
About her focus this season:
“I’m done with the World Cup; my focus is on the Games. This year, I’m focusing on February.
“It’s true that Americans see Olympic gold as the ultimate achievement. Vancouver had changed my life. I had won dozens of world titles by then, but nobody knew me at home. After Vancouver, I arrived at the airport and everyone was there cheering for me. I was wondering what was going on! I won one race and everybody knew me.
“I wasn’t able to go to Sochi so I know these coming Games are going to be really important for me. I’ve paid enough but now I feel fit and ready for it. I know I will be self-confident at the start.
“Next year I will be able to think about records and world titles. I’ve been thinking about Ingemar Stenmark’s record the past year or so, but it wasn’t my initial goal. But now that I have a chance to break it, that’s something I’d like to do before I end my career.”
About the possibility of a medal in Korea:
“Gold is my favorite color.”
About her competitors:
“My competitors, [Mikaela] Shiffrin and [Marcel] Hirscher – they’re so young and so focused, they train so hard. When I was their age, I did it more for fun. I think that’s the reason why they achieve so much in their young age.
“Skiing is what makes me happy and that’s why I’m still doing it. I’ve achieved everything I wanted, but I’m still enjoying it.”
About women racing versus men:
“Everyone has different opinions about that. Everyone also wants to watch it, but that’s not my goal anyway. For me, it’s about sport – I want to push myself. I don’t want to just be a forerunner, I did it when I was 15 and it’s not racing. I’m 33 now; it’s time to race.”