Lindsey Vonn, working with The Rock, Robert Redford, still at top speed in retirement

Lindsey Vonn
AP
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DENVER (AP) — Lindsey Vonn’s certainly dived right into retirement — off a cliff and splashing into a lake feet first.

That’s one of the many post-racing adventures for the all-time winningest female skier in World Cup history. Never one to sit back, she’s still going at top speed since competing in her final ski race last February.

The bustling life of Vonn includes that recent cliff-jumping excursion with boyfriend and NHL defenseman P.K. Subban, wrapping up her memoir in a book set to be published early next year, starting a line of beauty products, walking the red carpet, working with Dwayne Johnson on a sports apparel project and serving as an executive producer of a film with Robert Redford.

That’s right, Robert Redford (she’s not at liberty to discuss the full details just yet).

“I want to take over the world, one business at a time,” the 34-year-old Vonn cracked in a phone interview.

With her schedule so packed, there’s really been no time to miss racing. Maybe once the snow falls.

She still feels the cumulative effects of all the tumbles and wipeouts over a career that included three Olympic medals, including downhill gold, and four overall World Cup titles. Her knees constantly throb and the right arm she broke nearly three years ago in a training crash still causes her trouble.

Four months ago, she had a ligament repaired in her left knee. Her right knee is bone-on-bone.

“You pay a price for throwing yourself down the mountain and I’m going to be paying that price for the rest of my life,” Vonn said. “But that’s part of being an athlete — you sacrifice yourself and your body.”

In December, Vonn plans to trek to Lake Louise, Alberta, for the World Cup races and visit a course where she won so often it’s now named in her honor. She’s bringing her mom — and not her downhill skis. Her original plan last season was to step away after one final charge down the course in Lake Louise, but pain forced her to move up retirement.

“I’m not going to race. I can’t. I’m too beat up,” Vonn said. “I need the break.”

Any chance of a comeback, say, down the road?

“I don’t think so,” said Vonn, who has no designs on a coaching career. “The biggest problem is my right knee. Maybe something will come up that could help me. But at this point I don’t really foresee anything happening that’s going to dramatically change my living situation, let alone my competition possibilities.”

As for her women’s record of 82 World Cup wins, Vonn doesn’t anticipate the mark standing for long given the pace of fellow American Mikaela Shiffrin, who at 24 already has 60 wins.

“I’m sure Mikaela will beat it. If not her, someone else,” Vonn said. “I hope someone beats it.”

Vonn won’t be tuning in to catch many World Cup races. It’s too emotional. She was hoping to challenge the record of 86 World Cup wins held by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark. Her banged-up body didn’t allow it.

Still, she closed her career in memorable fashion by earning a bronze downhill medal at the world championships in Are, Sweden, on Feb. 10.

Now, it’s off to other pursuits. Her memoir — ”Rise: My Story ” — is scheduled to hit the bookshelves in mid-February. She’s also serving as a global ambassador for Johnson’s ”Project Rock ” collection, the actor’s signature line of Under Armour gear.

Then there’s the movie endeavor with Redford. They’re still developing the script and should soon start casting.

“Probably one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of,” Vonn said.

These days, she’s game for about any sort of undertaking, even riskier ones like cliff jumping. She and Subban — who was dealt from Nashville to the New Jersey Devils in June — joined up with some friends to take the plunge at a lake north of Toronto. Vonn jumped into the water after a countdown, while Subban hesitated before eventually leaping.

FYI: Her sponsor, Red Bull, does host a cliff-diving series.

“I know!” Vonn proudly exclaimed. “But I can only go so high because my ear drums pop all the time. So that’s kind of like close to the max or I rupture. I know my limits.”

Her passion these days revolve around her foundation , which provides girls scholarships and programming for education, sports, and enrichment programs.

Vonn’s days are definitely full in retirement — and way busier than she ever imagined.

“I really need a whole weekend off at some point,” Vonn joked. “But it’s been good. There are plenty of goals to achieve post-skiing for sure.”

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MORE: Vonn wins special honor at Laureus World Sports Awards

Marie-Philip Poulin is first female hockey player to win Canada Athlete of the Year

Marie-Philip Poulin
Getty
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Marie-Philip Poulin became the first female hockey player to win Canada’s Athlete of the Year after captaining the national team at the Winter Olympics and winning her third gold medal.

Poulin, 31, scored twice and assisted once in Canada’s 3-2 win over the U.S. in the Olympic final on Feb. 17. She has scored seven of Canada’s 10 goals over the last four Olympic finals dating to the 2010 Vancouver Games — all against the U.S.

Nine different male hockey players won Canada Athlete of the Year — now called the Northern Star Award — since its inception in 1936, led by Wayne Gretzky‘s four titles. Sidney Crosby won it in 2007 and 2009, and Carey Price was the most recent in 2015.

Poulin is the fifth consecutive Olympic champion to win the award in an Olympic year after bobsledder Kaillie Humphries in 2014, swimmer Penny Oleksiak in 2016, moguls skier Mikaël Kingsbury in 2018 and decathlete Damian Warner in 2021.

Canada’s other gold medalists at February’s Olympics were snowboarder Max Parrot in slopestyle, plus teams in speed skating’s women’s team pursuit and short track’s men’s 5000m relay.

In men’s hockey, Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in leading the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup and the Norris Trophy as the season’s best defenseman.

The Northern Star Award is annually decided by Canadian sports journalists.

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‘Her eyes would obliterate you’: Bold Isabeau Levito faces skating idol at Grand Prix Final

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The highlight of Isabeau Levito’s season so far came at Skate America in October.

It wasn’t the silver medal Levito won there, in her debut on figure skating’s senior Grand Prix circuit.

It was meeting the reigning world champion – and 2022 Skate America winner – Kaori Sakamoto of Japan.

“She is one of my idols,” Levito said of Sakamoto, who is also the 2022 Olympic bronze medalist.  “Right before her long program at worlds, you could see she was determined and strong and fierce.  Her eyes would obliterate you.

“That look and that fierceness and determination. . .I admire it so much, and I hope to have it someday.”

At only 15, Levito already belies her delicacy of movement on the ice with such powerful determination to reach her aspirations that she gets to meet Sakamoto again this week at the Grand Prix Final in Torino, Italy, where the senior women’s event begins Friday.

“One of my goals for this season was to make the Final, and I’m very glad I reached it,” she said.

She became the youngest U.S. skater to make the final since 14-year-old Caroline Zhang in 2007. (The minimum age has since been raised for all senior international events.) Levito is three years younger than any of the other five qualifiers this year, four of whom are in their 20s.

And her goal there?

“To make the podium,” Levito said.

If she does that, Levito would be the first U.S. woman to make the podium at the Grand Prix Final since Ashley Wagner won bronze in 2014.

Levito had a similar aim for her senior debut at the U.S. Championships last season, when her stated goal was to make the podium.  In the absence of two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu, who withdrew with Covid after edging Levito for third in the short program, Levito took second in the free skate and won the bronze medal.

Levito earned one of the six women’s places in the Final by also winning silver at her second Grand Prix event, the MK John Wilson Trophy in England last month.  Her performances there were her best of the year internationally, with personal-best scores for the total and free skate and a season’s best in the short program.

“I think she is progressing very well,” said her coach, Yulia Kuznetsova.

While comparing scores is tricky because of different judging panels, the best scores this season for each of the six women in the Final are separated by fewer than five points, led by Sakamoto at 217.61, with Levito fourth at 215.74.  The closeness of the field is reflected by having five different winners in the six “regular season” Grand Prix events, with Mai Mihara of Japan as the only double winner.

The last time the Grand Prix Final was held, in 2019, three skaters were double winners, accounting for all six regular-season wins. The Covid pandemic forced cancellation in 2020 and 2021.

It’s easy to forget that last spring, after winning the World Junior Championships, Levito was unsure about whether she would move up to the senior level internationally.

“I really wasn’t the person making that decision,” she said. “Yulia and people from U.S. Figure Skating came to that decision, and I was like, `Okay, seniors, sure.’’’

Kuznetsova, who has coached Levito for 11 years, said it was time for the skater to try new challenges.

“Of course, in the beginning we were a little (curious) about how we were going to be judged in moving from juniors to seniors, but after her first international (event), we understood we were in a pretty good position.  We feel confident and comfortable, and we just learn from competition to competition.”

Figure skating has a tradition of young skaters needing to pay their dues with judges, most often reflected in the more subjective program component scores (PCS), sometimes referred to as the “artistic” mark.  Levito’s mean PCS marks this season have been respectably in the mid-8s (out of perfect 10s), with Sakamoto the only skater to have her mean PCS in the low 9s.

The need to raise her PCS and the ban of the Russian female jump phenoms from international competition because of their country’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine mean Levito has sensibly put quadruple jumps and triple Axels on the back burner.  Russian women had won gold at five of the last six Grand Prix Finals and 13 of the 18 medals.

RELATED: 2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Only one woman, Rion Sumiyashi of Japan, has tried a quad in a senior event this season, and her three attempts were all badly flawed.

“Developing my skating and maturing are higher on my priorities,” Levito said.  “A triple Axel and/or quads will come in time.  We’re not trying to rush the process.”

At Kuznetsova’s behest, one of the world’s most acclaimed artists on ice, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy, spent time last spring at the New Jersey rink where Levito trains. Kuznetsova said Kostner was there for a week.

Levito posted a photo with Kostner on Instagram in June with a caption that read,  “It was a wonderful experience skating with you!”  Yet she and Kuznetsova are reluctant to discuss Kostner’s visit, with the coach saying only, “We really didn’t take any lessons (from Carolina).”

“I (made contact with) Isabeau through a mutual friend in 2018, and I’ve been in contact with her and her family ever since,” Kostner said in a text message.

“This spring I was in the area and I popped by for a visit. After many phone calls, we finally met in person.  I love sharing my experience with her and am thrilled to see her grow as a skater and as a young woman.”

Maybe Team Levito simply wanted even more of a karmic connection with Italy, home to not only this Grand Prix Final but the 2026 Winter Olympics, with figure skating to be held in Milan.  The skater, a home schooler who will finish the tenth grade this month, has been brushing up on Italian with help from both Duolingo and her mother, Chiara Garberi, a native of Milan who moved from Italy to the United States in 1997.

“Growing up, my mother always spoke to me in Italian, and I would reply in English,” Levito said.  “Now I think, `Why did I do that?’  I still understand everything in Italian, but when I open my mouth to speak, a lot of the vocabulary escapes me.  I’m kind of relearning Italian.  I’m getting there.”

Levito is likely to get to the 2026 Olympics, even if such predictions are risky with more than three years before those next Winter Games.  At this point, with all three U.S. women’s singles skaters from the 2022 Olympic team having stopped competing, either permanently or temporarily, Levito is clearly the leading U.S. woman.

That means she will go to the 2023 U.S. Championships as the title favorite.  It is a far different position from last season, when Levito was not old enough for Olympic consideration and could skate without the pressure of trying to make the team.

“I’m not concerned about the attention from being a favorite,” she said.  “I’m just really excited to hopefully do better than last year.”

If that is Levito’s goal, figure on her being determined enough to make it.

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 12 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com.