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Lindsey Vonn on 'how to raise an Olympian'

Feb. 5, 2014 at 10:20 AM ET

Video: The skier and TODAY Olympic correspondent reveals what it takes to raise an Olympian and how parents play an influential role.

It’s a fine line between glory and disaster, Lindsey Vonn says. So when disaster strikes, the star skier looks to the person who has always been there to cheer her on and help her get back on her feet: her mom.

Vonn and her mom, Lindy Lund, are part of “How To Raise an Olympian,” a special that features Olympians and their mothers, and airs on Wednesday evening on NBC.

The most accomplished female skier in U.S. history says the toughness and optimism she learned from her mom helped her become an elite competitor and stay positive when setbacks arose. The support she receives from Lund “means everything,” Vonn told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday.

“I’ve been injured the last two years now and having people around you who love you and care about you no matter what, whether you win or lose, that’s what kind of keeps you going,” Vonn said.

“My mom had a stroke when she gave birth to me so she’s been through a pretty rough time… moms don’t ever get that recognition they deserve, especially my mom. I feel like she’s just been through a lot.”

In the special, Lund explains the attitude she has tried to instill in her daughter.

“You can't always win, so you have to work through that and there will always be another race,” she says.

That’s especially important to remember now for Vonn, who had hoped to defend her gold medal in the downhill from the 2010 Olympics with a return in Sochi, but was forced to withdraw from competition because of an injured knee.

Still, Vonn will play an important part in the Games in another way. She has joined NBC as an Olympic correspondent for TODAY and NBC Sports during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

You can see more of Vonn's story and others in the NBC special, "How to Raise an Olympian," airing tonight at 8/7 Central.