Lindsey Vonn: Tiger Woods' Patience "Helped Me" Get Through Knee Injury

Downhill skier reveals how her golf superstar beau kept her mentally strong as she endured months of rehabilitation for her damaged knee

By Josh Grossberg Oct 28, 2013 2:48 PMTags

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If Lindsey Vonn has any doubts about reclaiming her form again following knee surgery from her season-ending crash last February, she's got an elite athlete boyfriend who knows a thing or two about comebacks in Tiger Woods.

Appearing on Today Monday, Matt Lauer asked the alpine champ was asked about the kind of support she's getting from the golf superstar regarding her recovery after suffering a torn ACL and MCL and fracturing a bone in her right knee.

"I'm not a very patient person," Vonn told the cohost. "He's very patient and he's very mentally tough. He's a grinder. He works extremely hard, and he's obviously also had an ACL injury as well and had the same surgery, so he knew what I was going through. He said just be patient, keep working hard, and everything is going to turn around. It really helped me get through it."

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When Lauer admitted that he doubted the downhill racer would be able to return in time for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, early next year and was being "naïve," the 29-year-old Vonn said it's full speed ahead.

"I work hard. That's what I do…I fall, I get back up," the Olympic gold medalist replied. "It's who I am. Obviously this is the biggest setback I've ever had. I'm skiing very well. I've only been on snow for a few days but I'm already almost back where I was. Things are looking up."

Asked what it feels like to hit the slopes again, Vonn added, "It feels good."

"I've been waiting to get back on snow now for many months now," she noted. "Going to Chile was really exciting, [and] definitely got my enthusiasm back knee feels great. I can't tell which one is injured."

The most decorated American skier of all time also explained the motivation for her to still compete when, as Lauer suggested, she could easily "rest on her résumé a little bit."

"I don't want that to be the final moment of my career. I mean, obviously I could've retired and I'd have a lot to be proud of, but there's a lot more I want to do. Sochi is obviously a huge goal of mine, so I had plenty of motivation. I wasn't going to just sit there and accept what I've already done," she said.

The sit-down concluded with Lauer asking her whether sports fans will see her on the medal stand.

"You better believe it," Vonn insisted. "You better not doubt me."

(E! and Today are part of the NBCUniversal family.)