Lindsey Vonn Gets Candid About How She Learned to 'Stockpile the Hate and Use It as Fuel'
Lindsey Vonn skied her final race at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre, Sweden, on Feb. 10
Lindsey Vonn has a message for her haters.
“It always motivates me to hear people trash-talk me because I just love to prove people wrong,” she told the outlet. “I know what I’m capable of.”
The skier specifically remembers telling herself to “stockpile the hate and use it as fuel” after a 2011 news article had questioned if she would continue to ski well following her split with ex-husband Thomas Vonn.
“I’m actually kind of thankful for the haters,” Vonn said. “Because it made me stronger and it pushed me harder. It made the comebacks that much sweeter.”
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In early February, Vonn announced her retirement in a lengthy Instagram post, referencing the many injuries she had acquired throughout the years.
“It’s been an emotional 2 weeks making the hardest decision of my life, but I have accepted that I cannot continue ski racing,” Vonn wrote, alongside a slideshow of images from throughout her career. “I will compete at the World Championships in Downhill and SG next week in Åre, Sweden and they will be the final races of my career.”
“I have always pushed the limits of ski racing and it has allowed me to have amazing success but also dramatic crashes. I have never wanted the storyline of my career to be about injuries and because of that I decided not to tell anyone that I underwent surgery this past spring,” she added, sharing the information for the first time. “A large portion of cartilage that had delaminated from my bone was removed.”
Vonn went on to reveal that although she continued to compete after receiving “extensive therapy,” she is no longer able “to compete the way I know I can.”
“My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen,” she wrote.
After announcing her retirement, Vonn won the bronze in the women’s downhill at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre, Sweden, on Feb. 10, marking her last race.
Speaking about staying strong through her numerous injuries, Vonn told Glamour, “I’ve never been afraid.“
“No, even when the injuries and the crashes seemed to endlessly pile up, I never changed,” she said. “I never was afraid.”
“It’s how I was able to continue to win,” she continued, referencing her fearlessness. “But it’s also been my biggest downfall.”
As for what she’s planning on doing after her retirement, Vonn told Glamour, “I think for me the biggest question is what will give me a personal challenge? And what will fill me with the passion that skiing has always given me?”
“I want people to know I view my career as beyond successful,” Vonn added. “I never gave up.”
Speaking to PEOPLE last fall, Vonn pictured her life after retirement.
“I think initially when I was thinking about it, I was nervous, because all I’ve known and all I’ve focused on my whole life has been skiing, so to think about something else as my main focus is weird, to say the least,” she admitted. “I just know that I’ll work hard at whatever it is I decide to do, and with that work ethic I can be successful. That in itself makes me not as nervous, but it’s obviously an interesting transition.”