Lindsey Vonn opened up on In Depth with Graham Bensinger this week on a wide array of topics, including depression, having a pandemic wipe out your wedding, and dealing with hate for being in an interracial relationship.
The biggest surprise is that Vonn says she was offered the chance to become a Formula One driver for team Red Bull, but turned it down as she was told she couldn’t get pregnant.
“I was thinking about going to Formula One. Like actually trying to be a racer, a driver. But I couldn’t because they wanted me to commit, what was it, three years? And they’re like you can’t get pregnant, you can’t do anything. I’m like, ‘Hmm, I don’t know if I really want to do that?’”
(That would seem to put Formula One, an international company, in direct violation of U.S. anti-discrimination laws, not that that has stopped plenty of American companies from doing the same for the past four decades.)
Vonn, 35, is the most accomplished U.S. alpine skier of all time, winning Gold in the downhill at the 2010 Olympic Games and four World Cup overall championships. It’s not all glamour and glory for Vonn, as the sport has taken an enormous physical and mental toll. She said she has suffered from depression since retiring from the sport last year. And she details the injuries she’s suffered, including two ACL injuries; an MCL; four tibial plateau fractures in her right leg and two in her left; a humerus fracture; a spinal fracture; a broken ankle; broken wrist, a broken finger, and too many concussions to count.
“I would say it was the first year after retirement was hard. I was depressed and, you know, it was just, it was a really hard time. But, you know, I’m lucky that P.K. [Subban, her NHL star fiance], and I had my family. I had my dogs, of course my dogs. That really helped me a lot to kind of get over that hump.”
Vonn has lived in Vail, Colo. since she was a teen, but had to sell her place there in order to move on with her life.
“The amount of days and time that I spent in my house in Vail, in bed. I couldn’t get past it, oh my God. I can’t … All I think about is being injured. And I love the town of Vail and everyone there has been so supportive of me and, um, but it just was too many memories that I just would rather put behind me.”
Vonn said she didn’t think about the long-term effects on her body, but she’s constantly reminded of it now.
“I mean, I’m in pain all the time. … If I don’t work out my knee is in extreme pain. Like I have a hard time walking the dogs for 10 minutes.”
In addition to depression and physical ailments, Vonn had to put off her marriage to Subban due to the pandemic, saying, “We’re not gonna have a wedding we’re not thrilled with because of COVID. But delaying the wedding might mean there’ll be a bun in the oven before Subban puts a ring on it.
Vonn and Subban have been one of the sports world’s top power couples — something she knows quite a bit about having dated Tiger Woods — ever since they started dating in 2017. They got engaged on Christmas day last year when Vonn proposed to Subban.
This being America, Vonn said she has gotten a lot of racist attacks from bigots who don’t approve of the All-American gal dating a Black man.
“I’ve gotten a lot of hate and I get myself a lot of trolls that really like to take pretty big digs at me.”
But she says her relationship has made her educate herself about race.
“I’ll never be able to walk in P.K.’s shoes. And so, I try to learn as much as I can from him and from others and educate myself as much as possible.”