DETAILS: You didn't give up on the Sochi Olympics, even after two knee injuries. You had surgery to reconstruct your ACL last February, then you had a second fall while training in November—brutal. What went through your head while you were skidding down the mountain?
Lindsey Vonn: You really don't know what's happening. It's like you're free-falling, and you don't know if you're going into the fences or into a gate. In that moment, I was trying to figure out what was happening to my knee. I've crashed a lot. Sometimes you can tell—while you're still sliding down the mountain—that something is wrong. And I knew something was really wrong.
DETAILS: You finally got back at it in December. How did that feel?
Lindsey Vonn: I had to build my confidence every day. The first race, I was just too nervous and tense. The second, I still made some mistakes. The third was really good—I still made mistakes, but they were because I was skiing too aggressively. That, for me as a racer, is a good mistake.
DETAILS: Do you ever see skiing as a metaphor for your life?
Lindsey Vonn: I take risks—that's my life on the slopes and off.
DETAILS: Some women would say dating Tiger Woods is a risk. What brought you together?
Lindsey Vonn: We have the same work ethic, we're very competitive. He beats me at Ping-Pong, we're about even at tennis.
DETAILS: Are you a betting woman?
Lindsey Vonn: I don't make bets unless I think I can win.
DETAILS: Do you two ever get competitive about whose sport is tougher?
Lindsey Vonn: Golf is different. You need to have serious patience. It's like a long chess match. To be honest, before Tiger, I probably wouldn't have said that. I didn't understand the sport very well. But now, even standing there as a spectator, it's brutal. Four days of extreme mental pressure. You're grinding, you're working, you're fighting. That's the same as in my sport—but mine only takes two minutes.
DETAILS: A lot of the media focused on your divorce and then on your relationship with Tiger. Did that get in your head?
Lindsey Vonn: Once there was an article saying I wasn't gonna be anything without a man in my life—without my father or my husband—and that lit a huge fire under me. That was in 2012, and it was the best season of my career. If I were my competitors, I would probably watch what I say, because it only fuels my fire.
DETAILS: Does being in the press put a bull's-eye on your back with your competitors?
Lindsey Vonn: At the finish area, when they're giving interviews, they always get asked questions about me. They hate it, and it definitely comes across. So they give answers like "We're sick of Lindsey winning." Well, I'm not sick of winning.