Olympian Lindsey Vonn on coming forward about depression: 'I knew I had to do it'

'Depression and anxiety is a serious thing to deal with, but it’s not uncommon'
Lindsey Vonn
Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

Before her 2019 retirement, Lindsey Vonn proved herself to be a champion of her sport, becoming the most decorated American skier of all time. Now, she's opening up about the challenges that have come along with that title in her memoir Rise: My Story, where she recounts stories about both her physical and mental health.

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Despite what people might assume about her talent, Vonn says that she worked overtime to achieve success. Explaining that her struggles are ultimately what built her into the athlete that she is.

After going public with her decades-long battle with depression in 2012, the Olympic medalist now explores the trials she faced, even after she retired. Diving deep into how she sought help to feel empowered both on and off the mountain.

Speaking to Fox News about her latest project, Vonn revealed why she’s coming forward with her story now, how she chose to face depression, how she coped with the media scrutiny, as well as what her life is really like today.

Skiing has always been a part of who I am, I’ve skied all my life and never thought of it as a job because I love it so much. So when I retired from the sport in 2019, I of course had my own emotional struggles with the transition," Vonn explained.

She continued, “I decided to write my memoir Rise as a way to tell my story and reflect on the journey my skiing career took me on. The writing process proved to be very therapeutic in preparing me for this next phase in my life. I’m so appreciative of everything I’ve been through and I’m excited about what's to come.”

When asked about whether or not she was nervous w to go public about her struggles with depression, Vonn admitted, “It was definitely nerve-wracking… but I knew I had to do it.”

As Vonn detailed, “I was going through a lot at that time and I felt that in order to take the weight off my shoulders I needed to confront and be open about certain parts of my life.”

Lindsey went on to say, “Depression and anxiety is a serious thing to deal with, but it’s not uncommon. A lot of people out there are affected by it. I was warned that it would ruin my career, but my motivation to speak out was a personal decision; I also hoped it would help others. When I finally came forward it didn‘t end my career, but it did make me a much stronger person and I’m glad I did it.

Check out Lindsey’s full interview here.

Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

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