Lindsey Vonn sees embarrassment, but not for her, in bid to race against men

Lindsey Vonn
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Lindsey Vonn said there are a lot of men that don’t want to see her entering a men’s World Cup race, one of her goals before retirement, in a wide-ranging “60 Minutes Sports” interview.

“I mean, I beat half of them when I train with them; they don’t want to be embarrassed,” Vonn said in an interview that aired Tuesday night. “I’m not going to beat all of them, I can assure you that, but I at least want a chance to see what my skiing is capable of against the best.”

Vonn has stuck to her goal of racing against men since 2012, but she’s yet to get the chance while also missing substantial time due to crash-related injuries the past four years. The International Ski Federation dismissed her request in November 2012, saying “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”

Vonn is undeterred.

“The goal is definitely to make it to the next Olympics in South Korea in 2018, so that’s two more seasons, but I’m really hoping for three seasons, and I’ll tell you why,” Vonn said last spring. “It’s because, in my final season, I would like to race against the men in one race.”

Vonn also said in the “60 Minutes” interview that she still takes medication for depression.

“Sometimes it’s really hard,” she said. “I don’t want to get out of bed.”

But she has plenty of motivation to rehab the most painful injury of her career to get back to racing later this season.

“I lack self-confidence,” Vonn said. “Skiing is what makes me happy, and when I don’t ski, I have a hard time just being happy.

“I’m lonely. I’m really lonely. When I don’t have skiing, it’s hard.”

Vonn also discussed her life away from racing, including appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and publishing a book in the offseason.

“I would prefer that people know me as being a skier, as being a very successful skier,” Vonn said. “Sometimes I feel like that line gets blurred, and I’m known for what I do outside of skiing.”

Such as dating Tiger Woods. Their nearly three-year relationship ended in spring 2015.

Even so, Vonn said she was “a little bit” surprised to not hear from Woods after breaking her right arm in a November training crash, which has kept her off snow for nearly two months.

“But I think he’s probably just focused on coming back,” Vonn said.

When Vonn does return to racing — she has said later this month, she hopes — eyes will be on her continued quest to break the World Cup career wins record of 86 held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark. Vonn, who averages about 10 wins per season when fully healthy, is at 76 wins.

“I can try to trick myself and pretend like it doesn’t mean everything to me, but it really does,” she said. “If I can break it, then I think that it solidifies me in the history of skiing. And that’s something that I want. I want people to remember my accomplishments, not that I was hurt all the time, but I won all the time.”

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