Back in November, America watched in horror as gold-medal skier Lindsey Vonn crashed during a practice run, re-tearing a recently rehabbed ACL and dashing her hopes for a repeat victory this year in Sochi. Vonn withdrew from the Games and underwent another surgery on her knee, then got to work on her recovery.
Since then Vonn's been mostly staying out of the spotlight, although that's about to change: Along with soccer player Kelly O'Hara and American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland, Vonn has lent her voice (and her rockin' body) to Under Armour's new women's campaign, I Will What I Want. (She's been a UA athlete for almost 10 years.) You'll soon be seeing her face on super inspiring, girl-power-packed ads for the campaign—and back on the ski slopes too.
We caught up with Vonn yesterday at the official I Will What I Want launch in New York City, where she shared her recent setbacks, her current training regimen, and her No. 1 goal for the future.
Shape: What your training's like at the moment, while you're still rehabbing?
Lindsey Vonn (LV): I've been pushing really hard in the gym these last two months, working out two times a day, six days a week. For a while I really wasn't able to do much with my knee besides basic range-of-motion exercises, so I really focused on hammering my upper body hard—lots of pull-ups. Skiing is about 70/30 lower body to upper body, but those first 10 seconds of any run are all arms. I work hard for these guns!
Shape: You've talked about how frustrating the slow pace of rehab can be. What's helped you get through it?
LV: I've gotten a lot of inspiration from other athletes who have come back from injuries, like Adrian Peterson in football and Maria Riesch in my own sport; she had back-to-back ACL surgeries and returned to compete as strong as ever. These last two injuries have been really devastating for me timing-wise, but that's only making me more determined since I know that my next Olympics will probably be my last.
Shape: Did you ever consider retiring while off the slopes?
LV: To be honest, if I had done well in these last Olympics I probably would have retired in 2015 after the upcoming World Championships. But since I had to pull out, I knew right away that I was in it for another four years. So it turns out I'm going to be in the sport I love a little bit longer than I'd planned, which is actually a really great thing.
Shape: 2018 Olympics aside, what are some of your goals in the more immediate future?
LV: To be the greatest skier of all time. I only need four more wins to break the all-time record, so that's what I'm focusing on first. I start skiing again October 1 and competing in December, and then the World Championships will be held in my hometown of Vail in February. That's going to be my big comeback.