Vonn keeps her eyes on the prize | SkyHiNews.com

Vonn keeps her eyes on the prize

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/dtaylor@vaildaily.comOlympic gold medalist and three-time World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn trains at Golden Peak last week in Vail.

VAIL, Colorado – There’s no doubt that Lindsey Vonn became a celebrity within the last year, but the 26-year-old ski racer still feels like the same person – even with cameras following her every move.

Vonn, who picked up Olympic gold and bronze medals in the 2010 Winter Olympics, spent the first week of November training at Vail’s Golden Peak alongside the U.S. Ski Team. Now she’s off to Finland for the second World Cup event of the season, returning back to Vail in about a week for more training before heading to Aspen for more World Cup racing.

The busy schedule isn’t something new for Vonn – she was already a successful ski racer well before international media caught on in the months leading up to the Winter Olympics. Only now, people seem to be paying a lot more attention to her.

From television commercials to appearances on talk shows to this week’s announcement that Vonn is one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year, Vonn’s schedule is now packed with more than just skiing.

“Life has just gotten busier,” Vonn said Saturday before walking on stage in Lionshead’s Vail Square with her teammates. “It’s more challenging to balance everything.”

Vonn likes a good challenge, though, and she’s not letting more attention get in the way of her determination to be the best. She said she’s been training as hard as ever, and is taking her diet a lot more seriously now, too.

She’s on a strict diet these days – she has eliminated rice, pasta, bread and dairy and is eating a lot of protein, she said. She’s only eating carbohydrates naturally, through vegetables and fruit.

When one of her neighbors at the Arrabelle brought Vonn cookies and candy on Halloween, Vonn said she had to give the treats to her husband.

“I’m always looking back and thinking about what I can improve,” Vonn said. “That’s why I’m now taking my diet very seriously.”

Vonn is always thinking about how she can improve her skiing, and this year the focus is on giant slalom and slalom – two events she admits she has always struggled with.

“I feel like it’s going really well, now,” Vonn said.

Vonn remains focused through all of the attention and pressure, and handles it gracefully.

She is always making sure she’s in the right mindset so she can ski her best. Race days are when her focus and determination are multiplied.

She wakes up early in the mornings on race days and works out. She has a small breakfast, usually granola and milk, and then begins her inspection of the race course, visualizing every turn over and over again before she memorizes the course.

“I have to get into the right mental frame,” Vonn said.

Vonn recognizes that it’s hard to remain on top as an athlete. There’s always someone chasing down your records, trying to break them.

“Everyone wants to beat you all the time,” Vonn said. “You can never be satisfied.”

When asked whether there’s a rivalry with U.S. Ski Team member Julia Mancuso – something the media latched onto during the 2010 Winter Olympics – Vonn said they get along just fine.

Vonn said she was surprised at some of the reports that surfaced about their relationship because Vonn has “never said a bad thing about her,” she said.

“Two athletes pushing each other helps them ski better,” Vonn said.

And skiing better is what’s important to Vonn. She constantly thinking about the last race or the last season, trying to fine-tune any little detail that will help her improve.

Every now and then, she also gets in a little skiing just for fun, too, although it doesn’t happen very often.

“I’m not a big moguls person – I’d much rather do powder,” Vonn said. “I got some sweet powder days at Vail when I was filming for Warren Miller last season.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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