Red Bulletin

The Next Level: Lindsey Vonn interview Part 1

It's been quite a year for Lindsey, and the Red Bulletin relive it with the comeback lady herself.

Lindsey Vonn poses for a portrait.
© Michael Muller/Red Bulletin

After the craziest year of her life – career-threatening injury at the Alpine World Ski Championships in February, finalisation of her divorce, a new relationship with Tiger Woods – can the greatest skier of her generation bounce back to become the best there is once again? In this two-part interview for December's Red Bulletin magazine, conducted before a further injury scare put her comeback temporarily on hold, Lindsey tells us how she aims to do exactly that.

How often do you think about the crash in Schladming that almost ended your career?
Not at all any more.

But you’ve watched it?
Yes, a few times on YouTube. I wanted to know if it looked the way it felt.

Did it?
It looked exactly the way it felt. My right ski came to a stop in the soft snow, my lower leg twisted to the right, my body fell over my knee, which dislocated.

How did you feel when you watched it?
I was pissed.

For the first time I had an injury which was greater than my will. In the first three weeks that was extremely hard to accept

Your Red Bull athletic supervisor Robert Trenkwalder says that there are also positive aspects to the kind of injury you had in Schladming. He says that you can grow, and learn from it.
Before, I could always push my way through injury, but I couldn’t this time. For the first time I had an injury which was greater than my will. In the first three weeks that was extremely hard to accept. I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t go get a coffee. I could only sit. There was no pushing – only waiting.

Lindsey Vonn returns to skiing after recovering from a serious knee injury seven months previously, in the Andes mountains, in Portillo, Chile, on August 31.
Lindsey Vonn back on skis in August 2013© Jon Selkowitz/Red Bull Content Pool

Did you become a more patient person during this time?
I tried. What I learned from that period was to listen to my body. I actually listened to my knee.

For an athlete, records are the only thing that lasts

The Austrian skier Annemarie Moser-Pröll won 62 World Cup races. You’ve won 59, so if you stay fit you’ll soon have the record for the most women’s World Cup victories in history.
I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant, but I think I will, yes. For an athlete, records are the only thing that lasts. The only thing that people will remember.

That sounds a bit sad…
Because it is sad. But if I want to ensure that people don’t forget me, I can only stop once I’ve set the bar as high as possible for anyone coming after me.

Read part 2 of this feature tomorrow, and for the full interview now, check out the December 2013 issue of The Red Bulletin, the global monthly magazine. For access to the international issue, download the free app for iOS or Android now.

The Red Bulletin December 2013© The Red Bulletin