Lindsey Vonn of the United States of America poses for a photograph prior to the alpine ski worldcup in Kitzbuehel, Austria on January 24, 2020.
© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
Alpine Skiing

What Lindsey Vonn's courageous skiing career teaches us all about grit

American ‘speed queen’ Lindsey Vonn features in an unmissable episode of Mind Set Win, sharing how determination helped her overcome adversity and achieve her long-term goals.
Written by Thomas Peeters
4 min readPublished on
The Mind Set Win podcast is the weekly show unlocking the mental tactics used by leading sports professionals around the world and the latest guest is someone we can all take inspiration from, Lindsey Vonn.
An icon who transcended her sport, whenever Vonn clipped into her skis at the top of a starting gate, the anticipation and excitement levels for what was about to unfold instantly rose.
Her fearless attitude, explosive power and intense commitment to skiing as fast as physically possible were evident for the world to see. But what perhaps wasn’t so instantly obvious was the inner grit and determination she had developed to even make the start gate, let alone win multiple World Championship medals, 82 World Cup races and an Olympic gold across a memorable 18-year career.
Now, in a captivating episode of Mind Set Win – hosted by Cédric Dumont – Vonn reveals the winning mentality behind a career spent racing in the fast lane.
If I set my mind to something, I won’t stop until I achieve it
Listen to the podcast in full and uncover how going back to your ‘why’ and your purpose can help you refind joy and motivation after experiencing a setback.
Read on to learn just a few of the highlights from Vonn’s appearance on Mind Set Win.

Find your ‘why’ mentally in challenging times

An image of skier Lindsey Vonn skiing the Streif in Kitzbuhel, Austria in 2023.

Lindsey Vonn on the Streif in Kitzbühel

© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

“Why do I want to do this? I want to go fast, I love pushing myself to the limit and throwing myself down a mountain at 85mph and seeing what happens," says Vonn.
Throughout all the successes and victories in her career, Vonn endured many significant injury setbacks that required all her resilience and mental strength to overcome.
One technique that helped her get through these challenging moments was to refer back to her ‘why’ and what her purpose was for doing it in the first place.

Limits are there to be pushed

Vonn recounts a race towards the end of the 2010 season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, when all she had to do was finish in the top 15 to be crowned overall World Cup champion for the third year in a row.
Skiing within her comfort zone was never an option, though. “I’m not that kind of person. I’m not just going to ski to the bottom and see what place I get, I have to push myself to the limit,” she says.
The risk paid off, and she lifted the crystal globe after winning the race.

Never stop finding ways to learn

2 min

Lindsey Vonn takes on the Streif

Lindsey Vonn is the first skier to take on the ultimate challenge in downhill skiing – the Streif – at night.


“There are so many things I’ve learned from ski racing that have helped me in my life now," explains Vonn.
The American reveals that never giving up, being goal-oriented, and being able to focus on one target specifically are all things she has taken from ski racing into her daily life.
She also shares her favourite book is 'Grit' by Angela Duckworth and Dumont subsequently picks out two equations from it that can help us become the best versions of ourselves.

Give 100 percent and have no regrets

Vonn also describes how she was willing to work harder and longer than anyone else in order to achieve her goals, and how she embraced the sacrifice that was needed to be a dominant champion.
But, if she knew at the start of her career what she knows now, would she do it again?
“It’s been a life of joy but also of sacrifice,” says Vonn. “I have bled many times to get to 82 [World Cup wins], and I would do it all over again.”

Always believe in yourself

Lindsey Vonn poses for a portrait at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre, Sweden on February 10, 2019.

Vonn retired from ski racing after the 2019 World Championships in Åre

© Erich Spiess/ASP/Red Bull Content Pool

The 38-year-old was written off many times in her career but always fought back and pushed herself to the limit right up until the last race of her career when she sensationally won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Sweden.
Alongside the grit, determination, passion, speed and raw talent, unwavering self-belief was also a crucial part of the formula.
“The best advice I can give is to always believe in yourself,” she says. “If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?”

Grit and determination can take you far

“I have a really high level of determination. If I set my mind to something, I won’t stop until I achieve it," says Vonn.
Dumont explains why Vonn's mentality to persevere and keep going until she succeeds is the quality that took her from "great" to "exceptional".
He then also details how grit is a common trait in "game-changers" like Vonn who are willing to sacrifice everything and have the courage to take action despite feelings of fear, stress and anxiety.
Find out more – including simple exercises to do at home – in Mind Set Win.

Part of this story

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn, alpine skiing's poster girl, is as ruthless, brilliant and successful as they come in the competitive world of alpine racing.

United StatesUnited States

Cédric Dumont

A vastly experienced skydiver and BASE jumper, Belgium's Cédric Dumont is always travelling the world in search of new adventures.