10 Questions for Lindsey Vonn

The Olympic gold-medal skier talks about setting a record on the slopes. Lindsey Vonn will now take your questions

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Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

Lindsey Vonn

What was it like to become the first American woman to win gold in an Olympic downhill?François Xavier Warlomont, Libramont, Belgium
It was incredible. I didn't know that an American woman had never won a downhill. When I found that out after winning the race, it was really something special. I was just trying to ski well and accomplish a childhood dream.

How did you find the strength to ski with an injury?Erin Lack, La Crescent, Minn.
It's been a real challenge for me to be able to ski well despite this injury. I've been doing as much therapy as I can. I use castor oil. My mother-in-law's from Norway, and she's always liked old-school remedies. And I do laser therapy and massage. I pretty much do everything humanly possible to make it feel better.

There was a mixed response regarding how open you were to discussing your injury. Do you think that criticism was fair?Frank Pennisi, Bayside, N.Y.
Everyone has an opinion, and I can't stop that. I initially didn't want to tell anyone. That's why I kept it secret for a week. But it didn't heal the way I was hoping. I just felt like I wanted to be open with everyone. That was my choice. I think it was the right one.

How do you feel about the controversy that erupted over your Sports Illustrated cover?Joanne Choi, Brentwood, Tenn.
I think it was just blown out of proportion. There's nothing sexual or controversial about it. That's how I ski. Every time you watch me ski on a mountain, I'm in that position. I'm fully clothed. I thought it was just kind of ridiculous. I actually thought it was a cool picture and great for my sport.

What motivates you to get back on skis after terrible falls?Lindsay Newton, Concord, Mass.
I feel like, with ski racing, you need to have a short memory. You crash all the time, and sometimes it's a really bad one, but sometimes it's not so bad. I'm never scared. I love skiing fast. You're going 80 to 85 m.p.h. down an icy slope, and I love it.

As an animal lover, I appreciate that you kept the cow awarded to you for winning the World Cup downhill in Val d'Isère, France. How is she?Wendy Giberson, Seattle
Olympe's good. My cow's good. I'm definitely happy that I kept her. I don't know if I can call her a pet, but she's really great — very photogenic. When she came to me, she was pregnant. She had a calf, and then she had another one. And the first baby had a baby. I'm producing cow after cow.

What's your favorite Summer Olympics event?Bhavya Kaushal, New Delhi
Definitely gymnastics. I think it's such an athletic sport, and the women who do it are gracious yet powerful. I did gymnastics when I was a kid. I wasn't very good at it.

Do the alpine cowbells pump you up during your runs?Jennifer Kardian, Roswell, GA.
I love the cowbell. I think it's awesome. My family got the cowbell app on their iPhones. It's a classic part of ski racing. The cowbells are what make all the noise. It's like cheerleading. Anything to make you feel like people are behind you, I think that's special.

Have you tried snowboarding?Austin Meyer, Prairie Village, Kans.
I have, and I was bad at it. I don't like the feeling of having my feet stuck together. My husband and I were watching [snowboarder] Shaun White, and we were saying that he's like Yoda in Star Wars, who's always hobbling around and then in the fight scene goes crazy. That's what Shaun does. He's really agile. It's not easy, what he does. I couldn't do it.

How do you feel about some sports broadcasters, coming into the Olympics, comparing you to Michael Phelps?Bill Bae, Colorado Springs
I'm no Michael Phelps. He's obviously a great Olympic champion. I was never expecting to win five gold medals. For me, my goal has always been just to win one. Thankfully, I've already got gold, and that's what I came here for. I'm no Michael. I'm just me.