Third time’s a charm for this pro.
Lindsey Vonn is gracing the pages of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, where she traded in her skis for a skimpy bikini.
“Lindsey Vonn is officially a three-time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model,” the magazine shared on Wednesday. “This pro has rocked bikinis in the snow, worn nothing but body paint and is now back and better than ever with stunning photos from her shoot in Puerto Vallarta.”
The retired Olympian admitted that "it feels incredible" to make heads turn on the beach after making her mark on the slopes.
“I remember the first time I was asked to be in the magazine and I was shocked they asked me,” the 34-year-old admitted to the outlet. “I wasn’t sure of myself and was struggling with self-confidence. Now being in my third issue it's amazing to see how far I’ve come as a person. I’m finally confident in myself and I think you’ll be able to see that in the pictures.”
However, Vonn shared her all-time favorite memory striking a pose for the mag wasn’t for this year’s coveted issue. In fact, she recalled going completely bare in body paint and not much else for the 2016 spread.
“I think the body paint shoot was the craziest shoot I’ve been on,” explained Vonn. “From the 13 hours of painting to running around basically naked… it was a trip! By the end of the shoot, I didn’t even realize I was only wearing paint!”
And life for the champion is pretty good these days. Earlier this year, Vonn announced she was retiring from ski racing after the world championships in Sweden, which took place Feb. 10.
Vonn, an all-time leader in World Cup wins with 82, originally had planned to retire in December. However, her ailing knees have contributed to her decision to retire sooner than planned.
In addition to her World Cup accomplishments, Vonn won a gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Games. She also won two gold medals in the 2009 World Championships in France.
“I’m still coming to terms with being retired,” said Vonn. “It’s hard to go from a very strict schedule to having everything up in the air. I’m still very busy but there are some days when I have to force myself to sleep in and relax. My last race in Sweden was one of the happiest days of my life even if it was bittersweet. I really wanted to go on top and so placing third in my last race, with all my friends and family there, was everything and more what I could have hoped for. It definitely made leaving what I love easier.”
Still, there are things about her celebrated career that Vonn won’t miss.
“I am definitely not going to miss the cold,” she shared. “The thing I’ll miss the most about competing is being around my team and the rush and thrill of throwing myself down the mountain at 80mph.”
And while life has certainly slowed things down for Vonn, she still doesn’t mind getting back out on the slopes just for the thrill of it all.
“It was great,” said Vonn. “It was actually refreshing to slow things down and not be competing. That was also an important part of me retiring was that I still wanted to be able to ski and eventually teach my kids to love skiing, too.”
But these days, Vonn is thinking about her future and what it holds for her.
“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my boyfriend, friends and family,” said Vonn. “I also have a few business ventures in the works so there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Just one month after walking away from an illustrious career on the slopes, Sports Illustrated shared a Boomerang photo of the downhill skier on Instagram, showing a bit of skin as she donned a white one-piece bathing suit on a beach in Puerto Vallarta.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.