It was a special moment last week when YOG Ambassador and Olympic Champion Lindsey Vonn stopped by the athlete’s village at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games to have a face-to-face chat with the competing athletes. The floor was open to all of their questions and Lindsey had the crowd captivated with her sound words of advice.
Accompanied by former USA team mate, ice hockey player Angela Ruggiero, Lindsey started the question and answer session by saying “You sacrifice a lot, but you’re gaining more!”
Lindsey who has won 47 World Cup races and competed in three Olympic Winter Games talked about how she started out and her passion for skiing from an early age, “I always wanted be an Olympian since I was 9 years old, and everybody thought I was insane.” Her hero, she said, was Picabo Street who she described as her ‘role model’, “I met her when I was 9 and she was the reason I started working hard and that really pushed me to where I am now.”
Lindsey also talked about the ups and downs that all athletes will face over the course of their career as she recalled how she crashed during training in 2006 at the Olympic Winter Games in Turin. “I first thought it was the worst thing in the world and I thought I was never going to ski again, but I came out of it and raced again two days later (in the super-G). Then I really realized how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. I learned from a negative experience. That was a turning point for me. I committed myself even more to the sport and started to work even harder.”
That hard work and dedication finally paid off at Vancouver 2010 where she won an Olympic gold medal for the first time. “At Vancouver I was actually the least nervous I had ever been,” she said. “I felt like, this is it, I didn’t question it and just trusted myself.
That was weird because in other Olympic Games, I was so nervous and shaking and just didn’t know what to do with myself.” She expressed that the Youth Olympic Games will prepare athletes to deal with ups and downs and the pressures of international competition, “This is really a unique chance to be able to be on a world stage and figure out how you can compete well in a high-pressure situation.”
Top advice Lindsey!