"From mental trials to physical trials, I had always used skiing as my outlet: No matter what was going on, I could retreat to the mountain. That was my happy place, a sort of meditation, and an escape."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lindsey Vonn is the most successful female ski racer of all time with 82 career World Cup victories. She also won the downhill at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 and has two other Olympic medals. “Rise: My Story,” her new memoir, will be published in January. Having retired from racing in 2019, Vonn is offering her thoughts on some of the current themes in sports in an occasional diary as told to AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf.

___

With the Winter Olympics less than six weeks away, I’m starting to get excited about ski racing again. You’re probably asking, “Shouldn’t you always be excited about ski racing?” Well, it’s not that straightforward.

When I retired almost three years ago, it wasn’t because I was ready to stop racing. It was because my body gave out. My surgically repaired knees couldn’t handle the strains of hurling myself down the mountain at 80 mph. For about a year after I retired, I couldn’t watch skiing — it was too depressing.

It was difficult to get my mind around retirement. Obviously, I always knew that would happen — every athlete has an end point. But for someone who is always in that “grind” mindset it’s not an easy thing to just shut off. So, I tried to set myself up in a way in which I would always have work as soon as I retired from skiing.

After retirement, I took a week for myself and then starting booking events and going to work. I was busier than ever. But just because I had work set up doesn’t mean that the transition was easy. It was hard. It was a new routine that wasn’t dictated by or around skiing.

From mental trials to physical trials, I had always used skiing as my outlet: No matter what was going on, I could retreat to the mountain. That was my happy place, a sort of meditation, and an escape.

Read more of Lindsey Vonn’s thoughts here

© Copyright LaPresse