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Lindsey Vonn's retirement plan is a beauty business

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer

On Thursday, U.S. Olympic alpine skier Lindsey Vonn publicly revealed that she plans to retire after the 2018-2019 skiing season. It was previously thought that her retirement would be contingent on whether she breaks the record for World Cup skiing victories, but she told NBC, “If I get it [the record], that would be a dream come true. If I don’t, I think I’ve had an incredibly successful career no matter what.”

Earlier in the day on Thursday, Vonn, who was in New York promoting her small business partnership with Chase Ink, gave Yahoo Finance a sense of what her next career move will be after retiring from competition.

“Now that my skiing career is kind of coming to an end, I want to pivot and start my own small business,” she said. “I’m very passionate about beauty. So I’m currently in the process of doing something cool, I can’t tell you what. And also outerwear. Obviously I’m a skier and I know a lot about being cold, and I think I have a lot of great ideas to contribute, so some good things are coming.”

Lindsey Vonn in studio on Yahoo Finance’s Midday Movers show on Oct. 11, 2018. (Olivia Cross/Oath)

‘I obviously don’t know what I’m doing’

Vonn is brutally honest over her own level of preparedness to start a business.

“I mean, I obviously don’t know what I’m doing,” she says. “That’s why working with Chase Ink is so important to me, because they know what they’re doing… I know basically nothing. I know ski racing. And so I definitely need to have those mentors… because I want to have a successful business. I don’t want to be an athlete that comes out and has no idea what they’re doing, and just talks a big game, and my company fails.”

Some of those mentors include fellow female athletes Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, whose success in business outside of sports has inspired Vonn. But she also lists Michael Strahan as a good model. “He’s another guy that has taken his career to a totally different realm,” Vonn says, “and most people don’t even know that he used to be a football player.”

‘Things are going to turn around’ at Under Armour

Like her peers at the upper echelon of their sport, Lindsey Vonn, who’s won three Olympic medals, has a slew of big endorsement deals and corporate partnerships, including Chase, Red Bull, Oakley, and Beats By Dre.

She is also the longest-standing female athlete endorsed by Under Armour. That company, once on a red-hot streak of 26 straight quarters of 20% revenue growth, has struggled mightily in the past two years. It lost money in 2017 and will lose money again this year. Under Armour stock is down 50% over the past two years, though it has rebounded in 2018, up 23% this year.

Vonn is optimistic the company will rebound further. “I know that things are going to turn around, so I’m not necessarily worried,” she says. “And we work closely together on new products. I think things are going to be really interesting in the next few quarters.”

Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. He hosts the podcast Sportsbook. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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