Lindsey Vonn has credited athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka with bringing discussion over mental health in sport to a "global scale".
One of the most successful skiers of all-time, the American has previously spoken of her own battles with depression during an illustrious career that saw Vonn win 82 World Cup races across all five alpine skiing disciplines.
Both Biles and Osaka have spoken publicly in the last year over their struggles with mental health, with the former withdrawing from several events at Tokyo 2020 to focus on her health.
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Vonn believes the pair and others like them deserve great credit for opening up.
"The fact that Simone [Biles] talked about it and pulled out of her competition in the Olympics really shed light on it in a way that hasn’t been done before," Vonn told
Every Olympic medal winning race from Lindsey Vonn ahead of Beijing 2022
"They’ve really brought the conversation to a global scale that we haven’t seen before.
"I didn’t deal with depression until later in my career. After the Olympics, it was a very isolating time, maybe a combination of the fact that the coaches didn’t believe in me but also because they demoted me.
"I went from having the best Olympic result on the women’s side to going back down to lower-level races, [and] not having anyone to lean on."
Vonn bowed out from competitive skiing in 2019, closing her impressive career with three major championship gold medals including a gold in the Olympic downhill at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Born in Minnesota, she commuted for several years to train in Colorado before her family moved to the resort of Vail to further her hopes of a professional career.
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This enabled Vonn to make a World Cup debut at the age of 16 and an Olympic debut two years later at Salt Lake City 2002.
Vonn praised her father for his role in helping her make a home Olympics at such a young age.
"We wanted to make a plan that would get us to the Salt Lake Olympics.
"I had to travel abroad and be around other racers. He was really the orchestrator - for someone to believe in a 9-year-old, that’s pretty amazing.”
The 37-year-old also revealed that the pandemic helped her find peace in retirement having initially struggled with leaving the sport she had spent her entire adult life within.
"When you change careers, especially when there’s not option to go back it’s a very tough transition," Vonn explained.
"I took that time during covid to reflect and now I’m in a great place, I can watch races as much as I want and not feel as bad.
"I’m still a little bit jealous, I think I always will be, but I can watch my teammates and be exceptionally happy for them.”
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