Park City, Utah – In an emotional and free-wheeling press conference here today at the National Center of Excellence, Olympic Gold Medalist in the Downhill, Lindsey Vonn, announced that she is retiring from the U.S. Ski Team and making a bid to rejoin the team as a Nordic racer.
With a mix of tears and smiles she told her story to a stunned ski press, “When I won the World Cup this year for the 3rd time it just suddenly hit me – this is too easy – I need a new challenge”.
Barraged by follow-up questions she explained further, “Look, it’s very hard for me to admit it. I was a gravity-slave. I thought I was a real skier. Then, when I injured my shin, I skied on some Nordic skate gear to stay in shape. Rossi set me up with some sweet WCS skate skis and those cool new boots. The gear was so light, so responsive, and I could go UP the hills without a lift. For the first time I felt free as a skier.”
One ski-writer posed the question, “But aren’t team-dynamics a big part of your decision?”. Vonn hesitated, looked down, and then faced up and answered, “Look, it’s no secret that I was totally sick of dealing with Julia and that stupid tiara. I thought that was just the way it was with your teammates at the Olympic level. Then I met Liz, Kikkan, and Holly in the Athlete’s Village. They were so nice, and really pretty, and they invited me over for dinner. Those Nordies really know how to eat! We had so many goodies. It was awesome.”
Another writer asked if the men on the Nordic team were equally friendly. “Oh yes!”, replied Vonn. “I met Kris and Andy at the USSA Ski Ball in Boston and they were really nice. Kris asked me to join him running up Mt Sunapee this summer. Andy offered to teach me to surf. And they are so hot. I mean let’s face it, Bode looks like some burned out frat boy who has had way too much beer, but those Nordic guys are totally ripped. Talk about washboard abs. And that coach, Matt Whitcomb, please tell me how such a dreamboat is still single?”
When asked if she would concentrate on one technique or distance she replied, “Well, skating seems easier to learn and with my Alpine background I think I’ll start with sprinting. But classic is so elegant and graceful that I really want to master that too. It will take me awhile to build up my aerobic base, but I’m psyched to put in some big hours this year rollerskiing and trail running.”
What about being competitive? Is it possible she can contend for metals? She mused, “Well, I saw that Petra Majdic break her ribs in that fall and still get a bronze and I thought, wow, she’s just like me. I get injured and still win metals. This is the place for real skiers. I think I can get on the podium at Sochi.”
Asked if she had any specific race plans for this winter she said, “Look, I come from Minnesota and in the Midwest you can’t get any respect unless you have finished the Birkie. So, that’s my big goal for next winter. I’ll probably have start in the second or third wave, but that’s cool. I will finally feel like I belong when I cross the finish line on Main St. in Hayward.”