Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn to Trump trolls: I never expected 'that much hate'

  • The four-time Olympian tells CNBC she stands by her opinions despite the backlash over her negative Trump comments.
  • "I don't think I was expecting that much hate that came my way," she says.
  • In December, Vonn told CNN she hoped to "represent the people of the United States, not the president" at the Olympics.

Four-time U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn told CNBC she stands by her opinions despite the backlash she's endured from internet trolls over her negative comments about President Donald Trump.

"I don't think I was expecting that much hate that came my way. But that's why I normally don't talk about politics," Vonn said in an interview from the Winter Games in Pyeongchang that aired Friday on "Squawk Box."

"It's a difficult balance," the 33-year-old Vonn said. "I don't want to skirt around answers to important questions. But I also don't want to alienate people who don't believe the same things I do."

Vonn received an onslaught of online criticism after she told CNN in December that she hoped to "represent the people of the United States, not the president" at the Olympics. Some of her critics had even said they hoped Vonn breaks her neck on the ski slope.

In Pyeongchang, after becoming the oldest female Alpine ski racer to earn a medal — a bronze in Wednesday's downhill — Vonn told CNBC the great thing about being American is "we all have the right to our opinions."

"I have mine. I don't always vocalize it," she added. "But the opinions I do have I stand behind."

Lindsey Vonn competes in the 2018 Winter Olympics, February 21, 2018.
Dominic Ebenbichler | Reuters
Lindsey Vonn competes in the 2018 Winter Olympics, February 21, 2018.

Born in Minnesota and now a resident of Vail, Colorado, Vonn was on Team USA for the Olympics in 2002, 2006 and 2010 when she became the first American woman to win a downhill Olympic gold medal. A knee injury kept her sidelined in 2014.

Vonn said Pyeongchang was her last Olympics, and she approached the games with a "might as well go out guns blazing" mentality. "There's no regrets. There's no holding back. I either win or I lose," she said.

Vonn won a gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the first ever gold in the downhill for an American woman, and also earned a bronze in those games.

WATCH: Vonn reflects on what she says is her last Olympics

— Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through the year 2032.