Lindsey Vonn went on Austrian television this week to talk about her quest to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month — and the world champion skier brought along one special (and furry) friend.
Vonn was a guest on Austria’s Sport & Talk show in Salzburg on Monday, and the 33-year-old skier — who has not yet qualified for the Winter Games — spoke at length about wanting to earn gold after missing the 2014 Olympics in Sochi when she re-injured her reconstructed right knee.
Though she’ll be one of the oldest skiers competing if she makes it to Korea, Vonn touched upon one of her special abilities that will help her compete: her ability to memorize the slopes, which she developed almost a decade ago.
“Visualizing the slopes is something I did when training for Vancouver and I’ve done the same this summer ahead of Pyeongchang,” Vonn told Sport & Talk while speaking in German. “I always run the slope in my mind. It helps a lot and things come automatically to me once I’m racing.”
The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver — where Vonn won gold in the downhill and became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the event — remains special to her, she said. It showed her how much people back home appreciated seeing an American at the top of the podium at the Games, and it took her career to a new level that she has only improved upon since.
“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,” she says. “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.”
With her adorable pup, Lucy, on her lap — who also has her own Instagram with Vonn’s two other dogs, Leo and Bear — the 2018 Olympic hopeful admitted to viewers that Pyeongchang will have a special significance to her, and she’s optimistic she’ll make her presence felt at the games.
“I wasn’t able to go to Sochi so I know these coming Games are going to be really important for me,” she said. “I’ve paid enough but now I feel fit and ready for it. I know I will be self-confident at the start.”
And of course, her focus is on not only qualifying for the games as of now, but medaling.
“Gold is my favorite color,” she said.