What’s next for Vonn? ‘It’s all about pushing myself’

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ARE, Sweden (AP) — Actor. Businesswoman. Mom. All three?

Life after skiing is already taking shape for Lindsey Vonn and she only completed her skiing career a day ago.

“Next goal, take on the world,” Vonn said, perhaps jokingly — but who’d put it past her? — when discussing what the future holds for her when she retires after the world championships in Sweden.

One thing’s for sure: She’s unlikely to be slipping out of the limelight.

“I’m a driven person,” said Vonn, who has 1.6 million Instagram followers and, at the height of her career in 2013, was worth $3 million, according to Forbes. “I’m not going to be sitting on the couch, twiddling my thumbs. That would be boring. It’s all about pushing myself.”

Just like it was all or nothing in her record-setting skiing career— her current shiner around her right eye and the highlight reel of crashes are testament to that — Vonn intends to immerse herself in lots of things once she puts away her racing suit.

She said she’ll be setting up her own business, which involves a “new project” that she is keeping under wraps for the moment. Attending a four-day course at Harvard Business School last year was an early signal of her post-skiing intentions.

“I hope one day,” Vonn said, “they say, ‘OK, she was a skier a long time ago, and now she’s a successful businesswoman.’”

That would be a big deal for Vonn, who has previously referred to being “self-conscious about my level of education,” having never been to college. Her family moved from Minnesota to Vail, Colorado, when she was 12 to advance her skiing career, and she took online courses to complete her high school education.

Vonn would do well to take some advice from American teammate Ted Ligety, who is also 34 and who founded his ski accessories company , Shred, in 2006.

“It’s a whole other world,” Ligety told The Associated Press. “It’s never easy … You can’t do it yourself. You got to have some help along the way and have some people that know better and that can help you carry out a vision as well.”

Vonn also is looking to get into the world of movies, both in front of the camera and behind it as an executive producer.

She has already been an extra on one of her favorite shows, “Law & Order,” and launched in December her own YouTube channel , LVTV, where she provides weekly lifestyle content on things like health, fitness and cooking.

It’s therefore no surprise that being a mother is not immediately on her agenda, but she definitely plans to have kids somewhere down the line. If her boyfriend, Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, wasn’t already aware of that, he is now.

In her news conference Tuesday after the super-G race at the worlds, Vonn set up her cell phone on the table in front of her to ensure Subban could listen in live.

“Wait, I’ve got to make sure my boyfriend is here for this,” Vonn said, repositioning her phone. “Yes, of course, I’d love to have children.

“I’m 34, so I can’t wait too long,” she added before looking straight down the phone. “You know what I’m saying.”

She said one of the reasons she is calling an end to her sports career now is so she doesn’t damage her body even more, to the extent that she wouldn’t be able to go skiing with her own children.

She’ll be making a clean break from the sport, too, after the downhill on Sunday. Not even coaching.

“I want to be still here, racing,” Vonn said, “I accept that I can’t, but I still want to be here. If I was going to be involved in skiing at least for the next few years, I think that would just make me even more sad. I need a break. Maybe after time, when I’m older, maybe then I can make my way back.”

Throw in her foundation and her slew of well-known sponsors that she plans to continue representing and Vonn won’t have a problem keeping herself occupied.

Top of the to-do list when she returns to the United States next week will be to have a seventh, and hopefully final, operation on her knee after tearing her lateral collateral ligament in November. During rehab, Vonn will have time to figure out exactly how to attack the next stage in her life.

“My head is still good,” she said. “That’s all I need at this point.”

 

Richard Callaghan, figure skating coach, banned for life

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Richard Callaghan, a figure skating coach best known for helping Tara Lipinski earn 1998 Olympic gold, was ruled permanently ineligible for violations including sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Callaghan can still appeal the sexual misconduct violation, according to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a watchdog for U.S. Olympic sports organizations that updated Callaghan’s status Wednesday.

He was first suspended in March 2018 pending an investigation into allegations first made against him more than 20 years ago.

Earlier this month, another former skater, Adam Schmidt, said in a lawsuit that he was sexually molested as a teenager by Callaghan starting in 1999.

Callaghan was previously accused of sexual misconduct in April 1999 by Craig Maurizi, one of his former students and later an assistant to him in San Diego and Detroit.

Maurizi told The New York Times that Callaghan had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with him beginning when he was 15 years old. The alleged misconduct had begun nearly 20 years earlier. Callaghan denied the allegations.

In March 2018, Callaghan told ABC News: “That’s 19 or 20 years ago. I have nothing to say.”

Maurizi’s previous grievance against Callaghan with the U.S. Figure Skating Association, the precursor to U.S. Figure Skating, was dismissed on procedural grounds.

He was Callaghan’s assistant at the Detroit Skating Club until they split after Lipinski turned pro, left Callaghan and decided to train with Maurizi.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Pita Taufatofua, Tonga flag bearer, finishes last in kayak debut

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Pita Taufatofua, the Tonga Olympic flag bearer who went viral in Rio and PyeongChang, began his quest to make a third straight Olympics in a third different sport with a last-place finish in his opening-round heat at the world sprint kayak championships in Hungary on Wednesday.

The start of the heat appeared delayed as Taufatofua struggled to get his kayak into position in the water. He was left at the start as the other six kayakers raced out and finished between 33 and 40 seconds. Taufatofua took 58.19 seconds, the slowest of 53 finishers among seven total heats.

“Well that was slightly better than the first time I competed in Taekwondo or skiing,” was tweeted from Taufatofua’s account. “Would have liked to start facing the right way but that’s life.”

Taufatofua, 35, was the oldest athlete in the heat by nearly a decade. He is also entered in doubles races with Tonga canoe federation president Malakai Ahokava with heats Thursday and Friday.

Taufatofua hopes to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in taekwondo, where he competed in Rio, and in sprint kayak.

But he hasn’t competed in taekwondo in three years and just started training kayak this spring. At worlds, Taufatofua told the BBC he is still having trouble staying afloat in the water.

Taufatofua said in announcing the new sport in April that it would be “largely impossible” to qualify for Tokyo. He could be the first athlete to compete in a different sport in three straight Olympics (Summer and Winter) since the Winter Games began in 1924, according to the OlyMADMen.

“It’s certainly going to be the greatest challenge that I’ve ever had to embark on,” he said then.

Taufatofua’s results at worlds this week has little bearing on his Olympic qualifying prospects. Rather, he just needed to compete in Hungary to stay eligible for the Olympics.

The key will be an Oceania qualifying event early next year, where one Olympic bid is available. He will likely have to beat the best kayakers from Australia and New Zealand to grab it. Australian Stephen Bird placed eighth at the Rio Olympics and 11th at the 2018 World Championships.

If Taufatofua fails, he could receive a special tripartite invitation sometimes offered to smaller nations like Tonga.

Taufatofua became a social-media celebrity by marching into the Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony shirtless and oiled up. He then lost in the first round via mercy rule in his taekwondo tournament.

He made a quixotic bid for the PyeongChang Winter Games in cross-country skiing — and accomplished the feat, barely, in a sport that has lenient qualifying requirements for nations with a lack of Winter Games depth.

Taufatofua finished 114th out of 116 in his 15km Olympic cross-country skiing race, nearly 23 minutes behind the winner.

If Taufatofua is able to carry the Tongan flag at a third Opening Ceremony, he will definitely be shirtless again, in a similar outfit to what he wore in Rio and PyeongChang, he said last year.

MORE: Five-time Olympic kayak medalist banned four years

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