Skier Lindsey Vonn (C) girlfriend of Tiger Woods watches him play on the ninth green during second round play in the 2013 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. Vonn is rehabbing her reconstruct right knee but is expected to compete in the Sochi, Olympics. (Photo : REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
Despite her own fame and success on the ski slopes, Olympian Lindsey Vonn sometimes feels compelled to remind people of her athletic accomplishments.
"Some people seem to forget that I'm not just Tiger [Woods'] girlfriend," Vonn told the New York Times. "I'm actually a successful athlete. I'm Lindsey. I have my own career and my own life."
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Vonn is no athletic slouch, having won four World Cup titles overall - one of only two women to ever win three consecutive titles (2008, 2009, 2010) - as well as two gold medals in the World Championship, and Olympic gold and bronze medals, making her the most successful American skier in the sport's history.
Vonn also dates the most famous golfer on the planet, whose problems with monogamy were on full display after Woods' messy divorce from Elin Nordegren, with the tabloids and paparazzi chomping at the bit due to the salaciousness of his multiple affairs.
That same insatiable media now have set their sights on Vonn, something she has become accustomed to despite her small-town roots.
"I won't lie, I picked up the occasional gossip magazine in the past because I thought that maybe 5 to 10 percent of it was true," said Vonn. "Now I think it's zero percent."
Vonn has had her own personal complications to handle in the last 18 months - from divorcing her husband Thomas Vonn to winning her fourth World Cup overall title to sustaining her first major injury in which she had her right knee surgically rebuilt. Besides supporting Woods, attending his tournaments since they announced they were dating, Vonn spends her time working through rehab, in preparation for the Sochi Olympics, where she will defend her downhill title as well as compete in the super-G, and giant slalom events.
"I honestly feel like there will be less pressure on me at these Olympics," Vonn said. "It helps to have already stood up to that pressure once."
Sports injuries, weirdly enough, gives the couple a commonality that keeps their bond tight. While they will not give each other advice on their respective sports, injuries and the struggles that go with getting back to action is something both athletes talk about at great lengths.
"He's had A.C.L. surgery, so right now I talk about my rehab," said Vonn. "He knows what I'm going through. The guy won a U.S. Open without an A.C.L."
Vonn also can relate to the stresses that come with being the best in their respective sports and appreciates she can vent to with Woods while also lending a sympathetic ear.
"The Olympics were the most pressure I've ever felt," she said. "Tiger lives that kind of pressure every single day. So I can talk to him about that."