Lindsey Vonn ponders 2018 'end point'
COURCHEVEL, France -- Lindsey Vonn thinks she will end her stellar skiing career at the 2018 Winter Games before looking into ways of furthering an acting career.
The 27-year-old American believes stopping at 33 years old, after one final Olympics, would be perfect before settling into a different kind of life: swapping the white hills for the silver screen, and hopefully starting a family.
"My main goal is to ski at least until the 2015 world championships in Vail and then see physically how I'm doing, mentally if I'm still doing it," Vonn said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday. "If I still feel great, I would love to keep going until the next Olympics (in 2018). That in my mind is the end point.
I think it's a bit different for women because you feel that you need to start a family. I may be interested in doing something involved in television, something fun.” -- Lindsey Vonn
"I feel like, at that point, I'll be ready for, hopefully, a life change and stay at home."
Vonn is in the midst of her best World Cup start and is well on the way to reclaiming the overall title she lost by just three points to Maria Hoefl-Riesch last season.
This recent success comes while she deals with some strife off the slopes. She is in the midst of divorce proceedings from her husband of four years, Thomas Vonn, who also served as her adviser and personal coach.
While Vonn admires the likes of Didier Cuche -- the Swiss downhill ace is the reigning World Cup downhill and super-G champion and still going strong at 37 -- she draws the line at going on that long.
"I think it's a bit different for women because you feel that you need to start a family," Vonn told the AP at the team's hotel. "I may be interested in doing something involved in television, something fun. ... I would definitely be interested in doing something like that, or doing cameos. Something I could do for fun that doesn't consume all my time."
Vonn played a secretary in the TV series "Law & Order" last year, and admits she was thrilled to catch the acting bug.
"I think it's kind of similar to skiing in a way. There's a part of skiing and sports that's entertainment. I'm really comfortable in front of people," Vonn said. "I've never really tested my skills as far as scripts go, but it's a part of me I would like to explore and see what I can do."
Expanding from cameos to bigger roles would mean learning more lines, something Vonn is confident she could do. Years of visualizing slopes, turns, bumps and where to avoid icy patches have sharply focused her mind and memory.
"I can memorize pretty well, but the hard part for me is not remembering the lines but interacting with other people -- so I probably have someone give me some lessons," she said. "But it would be really fun, it would be something that would give me a different challenge."
The one drawback, Vonn says, would be listening to her own voice.
"I just don't like hearing my voice in general," she said. "I think it sounds awful. It sounds very strange."
But the days of rolling cameras and film sets are a long time away.
Vonn, a three-time World Cup winner, Olympic and world downhill gold medalist, still feels she has a lot to accomplish in skiing. Notably closing the gap on the men, something she thinks is distinctly possible.
"I'm just trying to push myself and push my skiing more toward what the men are doing. That's something that's really driving and motivating me," she said. "I trained a lot with the men over the summer. I trained a couple of days in Chile with the Norwegian men, and I trained with the Norwegians, Canadians and Americans this year in Vail in November."
Vonn especially wants to challenge stereotypes and preconceptions she thinks still exist about women's racing.
"It's not as much a cliche as it used to be but there's still that (preconception)," she said. "It's really motivating for me. Everyone thinks that women can't be even in the same universe as men as far as skiing goes, and I feel like I can push myself to be close and competitive with them."
She has proof that she can, too.
"I beat a couple of them (during training in Vail) ... I'm not far off at all," she said. "There was a bet that, whoever I beat on the Canadian team, they would have to do dishes for a week, so a couple of them were (beaten)."
Vonn remains secretive about which men she beat.
"I'm sure they'd never let me train with them if I say who I beat," she said, adding that they did the dishes as they had promised -- although under supervision.
"Yeah. There was a couple of them. The older guys made sure they did it," she said. "They were disappointed. You never want to get beaten by a girl ... In skiing it's still (a stereotype)."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press