As U.S. skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn prepares to return to competitive skiing after a tough knee injury, here's five questions we asked about her recovery and training.
Q: How is your knee feeling?
A: My knee is great. … I had a few days of free skiing drills, and I'm definitely quite a bit further along than I anticipated and, I think, than everyone else anticipated. … I do feel basically 100 percent. I haven't gone to that final stage of my skiing yet. I'm confident when I do, it's going to be good.
Q: When will you return to racing? And will you try to race all disciplines?
A: Things are definitely further along than I anticipated. … When I was looking at the plan and the timeline, it didn't seem like it (the first World Cup race in Solden, Austria) would be at all possible to do that. It's because I'm feeling so strong and ready that I'm bringing that possibility back into the mix. … I'm not intending on racing in slalom. I have not tried training it yet. … I'm really focusing on speed events and GS, I think those are actually easier on my knee.
Q: Where is your mindset as you're coming off an injury? And was it something of a break or did you miss training and competing?
A: I'm definitely more excited to be back on snow than I normally am. The excitement … has increased since being injured. I'm someone that thrives on chaos. I need a lot going on. I need to be skiing and training. I'd much rather be healthy and training. … It was nice to be able to get a break and kind of have a normal life, stay in one place more than a few days. … Under any circumstances, I'd much rather be healthy.
Q: What's the biggest difference between being an Olympian in 2002 and trying to make the 2014 team?
A: In 2002, I was excited just to be part of the team. I was 17 and everything was very new. I was there for the experience. I had no expectation to be on the podium. The Olympics in Sochi are quite a bit different, with my medals in Vancouver and coming back from injury. I still have a lot of expectations I put on myself as well as what everyone else puts on me. I'm in a different situation now. I know Vancouver was the time I won an Olympic medal so I have that monkey off my back. I look forward to defending my title in Sochi.
Q: Do you think the FIS has done everything it can to ensure the safety of the athletes?
A: No. I was hopeful after my injury that would happen. They did exactly the same things, and on the men's side, there were a few injuries. No, I'm not confident that safety is at the forefront of their minds, but I continue to be hopeful that eventually that will happen.