Lindsey Vonn’s Foundation Encourages Young Girls to Follow In her Footsteps

The retired athlete is a curious case. After years of letting intense focus and competitiveness drive their life, they find themselves in a position to redefine themselves post-athletics.

For some this can be a struggle — their career is the only thing that defines them. Others channel their energy into a positive endeavor that helps them maintain a lasting impact well after their athletic glory has faded from the public consciousness. 

Lindsey Vonn hasn’t been retired very long and her achievements have done anything but fade from the public’s memory. But Vonn has found a way, post-retirement, to make a positive impact on the world without even picking up a ski. Here’s how she’s doing it. 

Lindsey Vonn on the red carpet
Lindsey Vonn | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Lindsey Vonn’s career overview

Vonn is one of the most recognizable names in skiing and came to dominate the sport, becoming one of the most successful female athletes in America.

She started at an early age, winning Italy’s Trofeo Topolino at the young age of 14. She won her first World Cup championship in 2008. She won a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in the downhill. She hit a setback in 2013 suffering a serious injury that forced her out of action for the 2014 Olympic Games.

She made her triumphant return at the 2018 Winter Olympics, winning a bronze medal. Before retiring in February of 2019 she had won 82 career victories in World Cup competition, winning four World Cups overall. 

What does Lindsey Vonn’s foundation do? 

One way Vonn has tried to give back to the world since she’s left the competitive spotlight is by operating a charitable organization. The Lindsey Vonn Foundation is “committed to engaging the community and our future generation with a positive and constructive atmosphere.”

The Foundation does this by supporting young women, providing them with scholarships along with other academic and athletic opportunities. It’s an all-girls foundation that provides them with an inclusive, safe space to grow as people, athletic competitors, and students/scholars. 

The Foundation is a rather new organization and is still soliciting donations that go toward funding all-girls camps and scholarships. They also have a “speaker series” designed to help empower and inspire young women. 

Lindsey Vonn’s purpose for starting her foundation

Vonn’s inspiration to start the Foundation was her own childhood hero, former women’s Olympic skier Picabo Street. According to Vonn, she was the athlete who first spurred Vonn to want to pursue greatness. Vonn met Street when she was nine years old: 

“She was the reason why I wanted to be an Olympic skier…she was just larger than life. It’s kind of like meeting a superhero and never thinking that they actually really exist until you meet them in person.

She had this energy and charisma that you could feel, and it just kind of sucked me in.  I was like, ‘I’m in. I want to be you, whatever you did. I’m in.'”

Vonn considered that when she was recovering from an injury in 2015, which is when she started her Foundation to help give young women like her the tools they need to succeed. 

“If Picabo can make an impact on my life that lasts that long after being there for [less than] two minutes, what could I do with a whole day? If I could spend a whole day with kids, you know, how could I positively impact them?”

Vonn’s Foundation sponsors an annual camp for young women in New York City. It’s refreshing to see an athlete no longer in the competitive spotlight continue to give back, helping others like her fulfill their dreams and get an advantage.