Lindsey Vonn Opens Up on Relationship With Mikaela Shiffrin, Formula 1 Offer, and Racism

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Olympic ski racer Lindsey Vonn felt so depressed when she retired, it was like someone had died. On this weekend’s episode of In Depth with Graham Bensinger the world champion discusses the loneliness she felt after leaving racing, and the reason she had to move from her long-time home of Vail, CO.

During the interview, which debuts in full this weekend, Vonn is open and honest about her complicated relationship with her father, her traumatic divorce, and finally skiing for herself. Other topics discussed are:

  • Vonn on turning down a Formula One offer because she wouldn’t be allowed to get pregnant,
  • Being in constant pain after a career marked by injury,
  • Tearfully recounting saving a young girl from suicide,
  • Having to delay her wedding due to COVID, and
  • The hate she receives for being in an interracial relationship,
  • Vonn on Mikaela Shiffrin: she didn’t want to be part of the team.

Vonn wouldn’t define her relationship with fellow skier Mikaela Shiffrin as “challenging,” but said although she tried to get Shiffrin involved in the team dynamic, there remained a distance between them, even after Vonn’s retirement.

“You know, I repeatedly, you know, tried to, you know, we, we always help each other with our course reports and I think I just, uh, I don’t, we didn’t have a challenging relationship. She just, she had her own thing and she didn’t really wanna be involved or have my help or have anyone’s help for that matter…”

“I mean everyone has their own approach and hers is different from anyone else’s, and that’s why maybe she’s successful. Um, but I also think as a professional athlete and, you know, someone who’s the greatest of all time, it’s your responsibility to help others. Like you’re in a role that you could positively impact so many people and I don’t feel like that’s being utilized in the way that it could be.”

– Lindsey Vonn

Vonn was given the chance to race in Formula One but declined because she had to commit to not getting pregnant:

“I was thinking about going to Formula One (with Red Bull). Like actually trying to be a racer, a driver. But I couldn’t because they wanted me to commit, what was it, three years? And they’re like you can’t get pregnant, you can’t do anything. I’m like mm, I don’t know if I really want to do that?”

– Lindsey Vonn

Vonn’s career has been plagued by injury. And while she said she is still mentally able to race, physically her body can no longer stand the rigors of skiing.

“I’ve had two ACLs, MCL, I’d say probably four tibial plateau fractures on my right leg. Uh, two on my left, uh, LCL on my left, uh, meniscus, repaired meniscus, meniscectomy, what is it? Where they cut your meniscus out. I’ve had a humerus fracture, a spiral fracture. I’ve still got the plate and the rods in my arm. I’ve sliced my thumb. I’ve broken my finger at the Olympics. I’ve broken my ankle. Had a lot of concussions, broke my wrist. I don’t know. I think that’s kind of it. I’m in pain all the time.”

– Lindsey Vonn

Vonn is currently engaged to New Jersey Devils’ hockey player P.K. Subban. The couple have encountered racism and blatant hatred, and Vonn says she is trying to better educate herself on race:

“Lindsey Vonn: I think there are conversations involved with race that are very difficult. Um, there’s not always a clear answer or a clear path to understanding… I’ll never be able to walk in PK’s shoes. And so, um, I try to learn as much as I can from him and from others and educate myself as much as possible.”

– Lindsey Vonn

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