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Three-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn says retiring from skiing is harder than competing

Key Points
  • The 34-year old alpine racer hung up her skis in February after a long career on the slopes that left her with multiple broken bones and torn ligaments.
  • Vonn has been skiing since she was 3 years old. By 7, she was competitively racing and by 9, she was doing international events.
  • She's been to four Olympics, has one gold medal, two bronze medals and more than 80 World Cup wins.
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Lindsey Vonn: The only way is through

Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn says the transition from professional athlete to retirement has been more difficult than she ever imagined.

The 34-year old alpine racer hung up her skis in February after a long and decorated career on the slopes that left her with multiple broken bones and torn ligaments.

"I accept that I didn't reach my goal, but I reached a lot of other goals that I never expected to even get close to. And at the end of the day I gave it everything I had," she said in an interview with CNBC.

The three-time Olympic medalist revealed to CNBC the emotional toll of her retirement in Baltimore this week where Under Armour announced its new ad campaign, titled "The Only Way is Through."

"I thought it would be a lot easier than it has been," she said. "It seems simple and logical that it would be, you know, easy. I have tons of things to do now and life's great. I don't have to diet or train or do anything. And it's exactly the opposite."

Lindsey Vonn
Source: Under Armour

The Minnesota-native has been skiing since she was 3 years old. By 7, she was competitively racing and by 9, she was doing international events. She's been to four Olympics, has one gold medal, two bronze medals and more than 80 World Cup wins. She has cemented her name in history as one of the greats when it comes to female athletes.

But the adrenaline rush and highs that she got from slopes have come to an abrupt end as she enters this new chapter.

"I relate it to a solar system. The skiing was always my sun and everything else orbited around it. And now I wake up and there's no more sun. So like everything is in disarray," she added.

While Vonn is getting used to life off the slopes, she still has got a lot going on. She's newly engaged and announced her own makeup line last week.

"It's still in the development phase," she says of her makeup line, but expect it to come out next year. Vonn is also hoping to leave her mark in other areas.

Financially, Vonn says she's in a great place after cementing relationships with top sponsors like Under Armour and through her conservative approach to saving money.

Lindsey Vonn
Source: Under Armour

"I was lucky that I found really good people to help me," she said.

"At the end of the day, I may lose money but I'm not going to lose everything. I want to make sure I have that nest egg that's going to support me in the rest of my life. Cause you know, everyone's going to live until they're like 120 now," not that I'll be walking that long with my knees, she jokes.

Ten years from now, Vonn said she sees herself with a family, being a business owner and taking over the world "one small step at a time."

"I want to be like the female blonde version of Dwayne Johnson," she adds.