The former Olympian skier has interviewed Shawn Johnson, Chloe Kim and Misty Copeland for the series
Like most people, Lindsey Vonn has been stuck indoors over the last few weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. But the Olympic gold medalist is still finding ways to keep productive, and she recently started a new video series that’s bringing kids together with their heroes.
Vonn — who retired from professional skiing last year after a storied career that saw a record number of World Cup wins — has been interviewing female athletes and other notable women through her Virtual Career Day series on YouTube.
The episodes, which take a deep dive into the professions of her guests, was started by Vonn as an effort to keep children motivated as they wait for schools to reopen. But what is especially unique is that Vonn also invites grant recipients from the Lindsey Vonn Foundation to speak with guests, allowing them invaluable one-on-one time with their role models.
“People are doing a lot right now to try to help kids — to help everyone — through the pandemic, and I wanted to help kids focus on the future, and keep them positive and motivated,” Vonn, 35, tells PEOPLE from her home in Los Angeles, where she is currently quarantining with fiancé P.K. Subban. “I wanted to pair kids up with someone they looked up to, and try to help them keep on track.”
One of the reasons Vonn was inspired to start the video series was her own childhood run-ins with role models, such as when she met former World Cup alpine ski racer Picabo Street when she was 9-years old. The encounter would shape the rest of her life, Vonn says.
“For me, talking to my childhood idol, Picabo Street, had a huge impact on me and actually was the reason that I wanted to be an Olympian,” she recalls. “I think those moments can be very impactful and life-changing. Especially right now, it’s just really important to keep kids focused on their future.”
So far, Vonn has interviewed ballet dancer Misty Copeland, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and neuroscientist Heather Berlin. The series’ premiere saw Vonn invite an 11-year-old grant recipient named Miracle to chat with gymnast Shawn Johnson.
“I feel like it’s similar to my experience when I was a kid,” Vonn says of Miracle, who was visibly excited during the video call. “It’s obviously different because it’s virtual, but most of these kids never have the chance to talk and ask questions to their heroes, their idols, their inspirations.”
“None of these girls know who they’re going to talk to, so they’re always surprised,” she adds.
For future episodes, Vonn hopes to highlight women from various fields like aerospace and education, while also using her vast network to bring in more female athletes.
While Vonn is using Virtual Career Day to help stimulate the minds of children stuck at home, she’s also launching a new workout series through Under Armour to keep people active during the pandemic.
“It’s been hard,” Vonn says of exercising at home over the last few weeks. “We just have two stationary bikes — like Peloton bikes — in our garage, and we’ve got workout bands. I’ve been using my Kirkland, Costco, olive oil jug as weights. I’ve got a big container of bleach. I use that as a kettlebell.”
“I always find with my depression that working out helps tremendously,” she continues. “If I don’t work out, it just is a really bad downward spiral. The more I can help encourage people to work out, I think the better.”
The series, Get Strong with Lindsey Vonn, will be available through MyFitnessPal as well as Under Armour’s social channels.
“I’m just trying to be creative and find ways to work out, but obviously, it gets a bit monotonous,” says Vonn, who is also an ambassador with Dwayne Johnson’s Project Rock label.
“I’m just trying to help people be more creative and keep working out,” she says, “because I think it’s really important to stay positive.”