Yasiel Puig, Kevin Durant, Lindsey Vonn: The New Ratings Gods of Sports (Photos)
The Hollywood Reporter's photo portfolio also includes Yankees slugger Robinson Cano and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III; as ratings and the price of rights soar, athletes are TV's new stars.
Ever since nabbing the gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver -- with almost 30 million TV viewers watching -- American skier Vonn has been bombarded with high-profile offers. Among those she nixed: reality TV shows, alcohol ads and a Playboy spread in Germany.
"That’s definitely not something I want to do," says the 5-foot-10 Vonn, who burst onto the world stage as a teenager at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where she competed in slalom and combined. Instead, the Minnesota native, now 28, has parlayed her success on the slopes into a slew of lucrative endorsement deals including Rolex, Red Bull, Head and Oakley (she reportedly is worth about $3 million).
Despite numerous offers of acting work, Vonn has kept Hollywood largely at bay due to a grueling training schedule that sees her in the gym four to six hours a day, five to six days a week.
"It’s always like a week or 10 days of shooting, and I never have that much time to give while I’m preparing for my next event," says the Law & Order junkie (her parents are lawyers).
She did, however, say yes to a guest spot as a secretary during L&O’s final season. Her star power continues to rise, thanks in part to her romance with Tiger Woods. As for the biggest perk of being one-half of a celebrity sports couple, Vonn is quick to weigh in: "It’s really cool because I know the feeling of working hard and winning, and it’s fun to watch the person whom I love do the same thing."
Vonn now has her sights set on her fourth Olympics -- next year’s hot-button Games in Sochi, Russia. Although calls for a boycott are mounting in the face of Russia’s antigay laws, Vonn is noncommittal. "I feel like every place that we go to for the Olympic Games -- like Beijing -- there’s a lot of controversy," she says. "I think that’s just part of the Games, and we’ll see what happens."
-- Tatiana Siegel