Vonn to be protected by bodyguards at ski worlds

February 3, 2013 - 3:31 PM
Austria Alpine Skiing World Championships

U.S. ski racer Lindsey Vonn gestures during a press conference in view of the World Cup Alpine Skiing, in Schladming, Austria, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. With media attention on her personal life intensifying and some 400,000 fans expected, Lindsey Vonn will be surrounded by bodyguards at the Alpine skiing world championships starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

SCHLADMING, Austria (AP) — With attention on her personal life intensifying, Lindsey Vonn will be surrounded by bodyguards at the Alpine skiing world championships.

An average of 30,000 fans per race are expected in this small Alpine village during the 13-day championships, which start Tuesday with the women's super-G and end Feb. 17.

"There's going to be an incredible amount of people here in Schladming, and it's a very small space," Vonn said Sunday at a news conference arranged by the U.S. team.

She said Red Bull, her sponsor, has hired security "to make sure I can get in and out and not have any difficulty, but I don't expect there to be any problems. But it's better to be safe than sorry."

There has been online chatter about an alleged relationship between Vonn and Tiger Woods. She was asked by a local TV reporter whether the golfer would be coming to watch her ski.

"Oh, my god! I don't know," Vonn replied. "You should ask him."

The reporter then asked again, "in the name of Schladming."

"I have no idea. I have no idea," Vonn said, repeating herself with a big smile and giggles.

Her divorce from her husband of more than four years, Thomas, was completed last month.

Vonn recently left the circuit for nearly a month to recover from an intestinal illness. She has won two races since she returned last month.

"I actually don't know what's going on in the U.S. as far as media pertaining to these world championships," Vonn said. "I haven't really been going online very much. I've just been focusing on preparing for world championships."