Lindsey Vonn may have retired from professional skiing, but that doesn’t mean she’s slowed down much. The former downhill superstar just published a memoir, Rise, earlier this month, detailing a life and career that has included 82 World Cup wins, 20 World Cup titles, the Olympic medals, and seven World Championship medals. And on January 21, a new documentary film she co – directed with Frank Marshall about her childhood idol, ’90s ski legend Picabo Street, will air on Peacock and Olympics.com ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. PICABO explores lesser known aspects of Street’s life, and her challenges both in and out of the limelight and on and off the slopes.
Vonn first met Street at an autograph signing at a ski shop in Montana when she was nine year old. ‘I didn’t really have a lot of skiers to watch growing up – skiing wasn’t really on tv’, Vonn says, ‘meeting her was such a game changer. I came home and I told my dad I wanted to be in the Olympics, just like Picabo. That drove me for years. It really sparked that drive to achieve that goal’. At the time Vonn didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes, especially in regards to Street’s personal life, and what she chose not to speak about it in depth, teasing, ‘you’ll have to see it to find out’). ‘I knew most of her life’, Vonn said. ‘But there were definitely things that I did not know, especially her relationship with her parents’. Street was arrested in 2016 on allegations of domestic violence against her father that shook the sport world; charges where dropped when her father ultimately took responsibility for the incident. ‘I didn’t know how she struggled with her father, and struggled with talking to people about it. I think it’s an important part of the documentary for many reasons, and it’s conversation that will also empower many other women in the process’.
Vonn knows a thing or two about self – reliance. ‘I never worked with a sports psychologist, and never really talked to anyone about the psychology of skiing or sports performance, I never really asked for help’, she said. ‘I really learned through trial and error and experience and paying attention to what worked well or didn’t work well. I had been going through that since I was 12, at my first major international race, and I had a lot of pressure and I found a way through it, so I used similar tactics for the rest of my career, adjusting for how I felt and what the situations was’. Here, Vonn shares some of how she gets into fighting form.
Sleep is a huge part of it. I am a crazy sleeper. It’s so important for me. I always took naps, because your day is so full. And I would definitely prioritize naps, because if I didn’t get sleep, my mind was just not there, and you have to be mentally there in the starting gate before you’re essentially risking your life on the mountain. I always tried to get 10 hours. I’d say usually I got nine, factoring in my nap time. Some people say that the short naps are where it’s at, I totally disagree. I say a solid hour. Anything over an hour and a half and I’m probably more groggy than I am refreshed. But an hour was always a solid time for me. Didn’t need sleep aid…let’s just say that I have a certain skill set. And that includes sleeping on demand. Even now that I’m not competing, I’m still a pretty good sleeper. I have to physically exert myself. If I haven’t done anything then it’s more difficult to sleep, but I generally work hard enough – and I’m always working out at home with my Temp or whatever – so I’m usually on the move and tired enough where I can fall asleep at any time. I could conk out right now for a quick 15 minutes if I needed to.
Get Your Head In The Game
Your definitely need to get pumped up. When you’re racing downhill, you’re preparing yourself mentally tho throw yourself down a mountain at 85 miles per hour, so you always have to be a combination of clear minded and incredibly fired up and aggressive. I would most of the time listen to rap music – Lil’ Wayne, Jay Z, and Eminem – and I had a specific pump – up playlist that I would listen to. I would listen to. And then when I was in the start gates it was all about breathing, and trying to be that combination of clear minded/calm and also incredibly aggressive. It’s a tough place to repeatedly get your mind to, but it is very important to get there.
Balance Is Pivotal
When I was preparing for a season in the summer, I was working out five to six days a week, generally at least six hours a day. I usually did only one half – day work – out of three hours. When I was younger, and before I had my injuries, I was sometimes doing eight hours a day, three sessions: a pre – breakfast, post – breakfast, and afternoon session. In season it’s more about maintenance, which usually meant biking, a lot of biking before races. And then usually after the races on Sunday or Monday I would do weight lifting, but it’s difficult to balance because you obviously don’t want to get sore from wright lifting but you have to do some to maintain you strength for the season, because it is a very long season, from October until March. It’s always trying to find a balance of maintaining your strength and also recovering from your racing and training.
Develop Rituals, And Stick To Them
I rely heavily on routine, and especially pre – race routine. Even my nighttime routine of setting my clothes out. I had different speed suits I had designed, and I would match my Under Armour turtleneck and my bra to my underwear – everything had to match, even my ski socks had to match my race suit. It always felt better if I had done that routine before I went to bed, I could never sleep unless I had everything laid out. And then I had my music and I worked out in the morning before I went to the mountain, because I was never still am not a morning person. It was very important for me to wake up my body as well as my mind in that 30 minuted before I had breakfast. Just simple things like that. In skiing there are so many variables and there are very few things you can control, so those routines – would help me to stay confident so that whatever was thrown at me variable – wise I was able to rely on those routines to keep me going.
Stay Challenged, Stay Humble
I miss a lot about competition. Mainly the adrenaline and the speed. I love pushing myself and going fast. I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie, and it’s been kind of hard not to have that in my life. I’m trying to find it other ways. I’ve picked up a lot of new sports. I ‘ve been wake surfing, and surprisingly I’m not terrible at it – surprising because I don’t really like my feet being stuck, it’s different from from skiing, and wake surfing you’re not locked in and you’re also going slower so if you crash it’s not nearly as bad. I also did kiteboarding, which was a very…humbling experience. Great for my adrenaline, but I definitely got dragged through the water face – first a couple of times. I swallowed a lot water. But it was definitely fun. Those kinds of things are good for me, to have a new challenge, and do something with my adrenaline because I don’t have skiing anymore. Those things are great for adrenaline, bad for the ego. It’s good for me. It’s kike, you can’t be good at everything. I was actually only good at skiing. I was only a pro skier, I am definitely not going to be professional at any other sport. One professional sport is fine!