02:02 - Source: CNN
Vonn: Tiger is an 'inspiration'

Story highlights

Lindsey Vonn reveals boyfriend Tiger Woods has helped her through injury rehab

Four-time World Champion has missed much of the last two ski seasons due to serious knee injuries

Vonn will make return to competitive skiing action in coming weeks

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Vail, Colorado CNN  — 

It’s been a long old road to recovery for U.S. skiing star Lindsey Vonn.

The Olympic gold medal winner and four time overall World Cup champion has been sidelined for much of the last two years after undergoing separate bouts of surgery on a recurring knee injury.

A promising returning to action in late 2013 was cut short by a fall in training which meant she missed out on defending her downhill crown at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Now, after knuckling down in the gym and overcoming that bitter disappointment, the 30-year-old Vonn is finally set to return to competitive action.

And opening up to CNN, she revealed her secret weapon as she fought to get back to the top of the slopes – her boyfriend and golf star, Tiger Woods.

“Tiger and I both went through rehab with our injuries at a similar time, so we were both in the gym together and pushing each other and motivating each other, both frustrated,” Vonn said.

“I think we both helped each other a lot through that time, and I drew a lot of inspiration from him and I think he does the same with me.

“We continue to push each other and it’s a really positive relationship in that way.”

Woods’ own injury problems began after a promising start to 2014.

The 14-time major champion regained the World No 1. spot in March but was unable to recapture the form that took him there after undergoing back surgery shortly afterwards.

A poor summer meant Woods dropped out of contention for a place in the U.S.’s ill-fated Ryder Cup team.

Given his high profile and status within the golfing community, much of the media attention in the run up to the Ryder Cup focused on Woods’ absence.

Being a star that transcends her own sport in a similar manner, Vonn can empathize as to the added pressure that the unflinching glare of the spotlight can bring.

“For us, we’re just two athletes trying to do the best we can in our sports,” she said.

“There’s other stuff that goes along with it for both of us, there’s media and stuff like that.”

Vonn recently criticized a satirical article published in the Golf Digest magazine that poked fun at Woods.

She said she was proud of her boyfriend for taking a stand in criticizing the piece and described much of the reaction surrounding his response as “completely ridiculous” in quotes carried by USA Today.

Vonn is more laid back discussing media relations today.

Although not directly referring to that incident in particular, she said the attention is “all part of sports and part of being a successful athlete. We both understand that and take it in our stride.”

A chipper Vonn even revealed the celebrity pair are intensively competitive with one another.

Responding to a question on whether her golf is better than Tiger’s skiing, Vonn said that was perhaps too difficult to say.

“It’s tricky – I have a hole in one. But he’s a pretty good skier.”

“We’re highly competitive. We’re competing at every single thing that we can. And unfortunately he holds the record in ping-pong.

“I have only one victory to I don’t know how many hundreds he has.”

“He’s pretty much better than me at everything, except skiing, so unfortunately he’s the winner of the two of us.”

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