TODAY

TODAY   |  February 25, 2013

Lindsey Vonn: ‘I have a lot more to do’

In an exclusive interview, Lindsey Vonn, one of the most decorated Olympic skiers in history, talks to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about the devastating injury she sustained just one year before the start of the Sochi Olympics, saying she still has “plenty of time to be ready” for the 2014 Games.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> gold medal skier lindsey vonn . we caught up with her in veail, colorado, where she continues to recover from a terrible crash. she tells me sochi remains firmly in her sights. a beaming smile, atop the podium for four overall world cup titles and olympic gold . lindsey vonn 's childhood dreams come true, and then a nightmare at the recent world championships .

>> and she is down, heavy ily.

>> now, two weeks after major knee surgery, she is up and about. in the mountains she grew up in as a girl.

>> they have reflectors in case i'm cruising.

>> going out on the highway at night? yeah?

>> a specialty so when i'm walking around in the ice i've got little grippers.

>> the day after surgery she shared this photo from her hospital bed and now was willing to show me the actual damage.

>> i have a screw that holds in my mcl and acl right here and then i have a little pin that kind of holds it all together.

>> rehab started immediately. one-hour sessions twice a day. upper body and core are no problem. as far as the knee?

>> mostly just moving the kneecap around so there's no scarring underneath the kneecap, getting the fluid out.

>> von remembers all the details of the crash. she estimates she was skiing 70 to 80 miles an hour.

>> i just went off a jump, flew too far and landed in a pile of snow that hadn't been cleared away. and it essentially stopped my skis on impact and my knee just completely buckled.

>> you let out a shriek.

>> yeah. i knew -- i initially thought it was going to be worse. there was so much pain that i couldn't quite tell where exactly it was coming from.

>> air lifted to the hospital she learned she had torn ligaments, her acl and mcl, plus a bone fracture.

>> i knew what was wrong with me within five minutes of getting there. everything happened pretty quick, but it was still a long time for me to think about, you know, my career and --

>> did you, did you --

>> yeah.

>> stop and think okay, i've broken this, torn this, got major surgery in my future. is this the end of the career?

>> i didn't think it was going to be the end of my career.

>> falls and injuries, she says, are part of the job .

>> you can honestly, after what you just went through, get back on a course and have no fear?

>> i know i can. that's just who i am.

>> you read the magazines and they already cal you the most accomplished.

>> but i'm not.

>> well, the most accomplished.

>> number two.

>> u.s. ski er of all time.

>> u.s., u.s. skier, but not overall.

>> it means that much to you?

>> yep. i just -- i feel like i have a lot more left to do.

>> do you worry you push yourself too hard?

>> yeah, i definitely do. i always consider when i get injured, is this going to prevent me from walking when i'm 50?

>> and more headlines of the von revealed recently she struggles with depression. i'm curious why you came forward.

>> i felt like after my divorce that was something i needed to get off my chest. and i felt like i needed to tell people about it to really be able to move forward. i hope that at least one good thing about me talking about it is that other people don't feel ashamed to talk about it.

>> no stranger to injury, she feels the recovery process will give her strength.

>> i struggled definitely in the first couple of days after the injury but i have something to look forward to. and right now my goal is to be back for 2014 in sochi . i have plenty of time to get ready for sochi .

>> do you really? to hear you say that it doesn't seem like a lot of time for me. it's a lot of time for sochi but you can't just show up in sochi and say i'm ready to ski again.

>> says who?

>> when will you have to get back on the slopes so you can be ready for the slopes?

>> honestly in the worst case scenario , if i trained a week before the games, i would be fine.

>> that sounds a little optimistic. she says she hopes to get back on skis some time in november and race some in december. by the way, on another note, recent headlines have linked lindsey with tiger woods . i asked her about that she said, matt i would like to keep my personal life private. we respect that.

>> i like how she sassed you. says who?

>> for a guy who never skied a day in his life.

>> we definitely are rooting for