Sports stars aren’t ‘superhuman’
Lindsey Vonn wrote an autobiography about her life. She has now spoken about the ups and downs in an interview.
Lindsey Vonn (37) ended her successful sports career in 2019, and the former ski racer has now written down her life in her autobiography “Rise”. On the one hand there are 82 World Cup victories, glamor and strength, on the other injury, depression and hard fights. Nevertheless, she is grateful for what she has achieved and “also for everything I have experienced and gone through”, as the American says in an interview with “Welt am Sonntag”.. “I don’t want to change anything.”
Writing it all down in a book was “therapeutic” in many ways, Vonn said. “Being able to go back over everything I’ve experienced.” Even as a child, writing was a way for the ski racer to process things. She was already writing a diary when she was eight years old. She used it as an outlet at the time, she reports. “Because sometimes I didn’t have anyone I could or really wanted to talk to.” You don’t necessarily want to share everything that’s happening in your own life, especially with teammates.
That’s why Lindsey Vonn made her depression public
Lindsey Vonn has suffered from depression since she was a teenager. The 37-year-old spoke about the disease for the first time after the 2010 Olympic Games. “It was a huge step for me,” she explains in the current interview. “And not an easy one.” At the time, however, it was important for her to “take the pressure off my shoulders and be able to start fresh in a certain way”.
The topic of mental health is much more present in sports today than it was twelve years ago. For example, US gymnast Simone Biles (24) withdrew from the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo because of psychological problems, tennis star Naomi Osaka (24) canceled her participation in the French Open shortly before because of depression. Lindsey Vonn also notes: “There’s more talk about it among the athletes too – and I think that’s great and urgently needed.”
When Vonn made her illness public in 2010, “nobody talked about it,” she says. That’s why it was difficult for many to understand why you can be successful in sports on the one hand, but “it wasn’t so easy for me off the slopes”. “I think it was especially hard for me when people didn’t understand it,” continued Vonn. “But I can understand their perspective, after all, I was also inspired by great athletes who I also saw as superheroes.” But one should not forget that behind successful athletes there are people. “We’re not perfect, we all have our issues – mentally, physically, whatever. We’re not indestructible, nobody’s superhuman,” Vonn summarizes.
The telephone counseling service offers help with depression on the free number: 0800/111 0 111.