Dubai: Lindsey Vonn, Olympic champion and one of the biggest names in world skiing, has challenged athletes from across the world to dare and think outside the box in an attempt to cope with the current situation.
In an interview with CNN’s Christina Macfarlane, the 36-year-old American spoke on a range of topics affecting the lives of athletes - starting from athlete activism to dealing with the ongoing pandemic.
“Honestly, I don’t know how the Summer Olympians are coping with the situation. Athletes rely on routine; we don’t like a lot of variables. We like things to be as consistent as possible so we can make the most gains and perform the best that we can,” Vonn told Macfarlane.
“So, I do not envy the Summer Olympians right now and I just hope they’re managing okay and that they will be ready when the Games do happen,” she added.
Voted Laureus Sportswoman of the Year in 2010, Vonn is someone who is aware of how setbacks can affect an elite athlete. After countless injuries that led to her missing out on Olympics, world championships and world records, it was only her immense mental strength to push through the pain barrier before Vonn retired two years back as the most successful female ski racer of all time.
Vonn stood out for her resilience as the American amassed three Winter Olympic medals, eight world championship medals and a record 82 World Cup race wins.
Delving into her long experience of competing at the top-most level in her sport, she was quick to share her wisdom that could be of assistance to her fellow professionals in managing the uncertainty of these times.
“What I would suggest is that you should find your confidence in your little bubble, in your little routines and try to find that rhythm as much as you can,” she suggested.
“I don’t think anyone’s ever dealt with this, so I think the mentally tough are going to be the ones that are able to pull through it,” she added.
The American was aware of the reality of change that can be brought in by sport. “I really think that athletes can make a big change, not just in the sports world,” she noted.
“It’s really, really cool to see that shift in the way that not only athletes are speaking out, but also in the way that they’re perceived [by] everyone from the outside world. You can no longer say ‘shut up and dribble’. Athletes have a voice. They’re smart. They’re not just there to entertain,” she stressed.
The 2022 Winter Olympics, commonly known as Beijing 2022, are scheduled to be held in Beijing and towns in the neighbouring Hebei province from February 4-20, 2022. “It’s always difficult to go into a new a new track, never having run it before and pushing yourself in the Olympics without a lot of experience on the track. But at the same time, as long as everyone doesn’t have experience, then you’re all on equal footing,” she remarked.
“Hopefully, I can be a part of the Games in some way, maybe commentating or being at the venue would be really fun for me. Still being part of the sport, but in a totally different capacity,” she added.
Having gone through several tough personal moments during her chequered career, Vonn was certain she would be still among those venturing to compete at major events such as the Olympics, despite current circumstances.
“I mean, I’m different. I would compete under any circumstance, pretty much. I think most athletes have given up their entire lives to be in that position to be in the Olympics,” she noted.
“So, I don’t think there’s a lot of things that would deter them from competing if the Games actually do happen. But if it were me in that position, I would still go,” Vonn insisted.