Olympic gold medalist and top American skier Lindsey Vonn is divorcing husband and chief adviser Thomas Vonn after four years of marriage.

Olympic

Olympic gold medalist and top American skier Lindsey Vonn is divorcing husband and chief adviser Thomas Vonn after four years of marriage. (Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader)

Lindsey confirmed Sunday night that she and her husband have started divorce proceedings, according to reports.

This is an extremely difficult time in my personal life and I hope the media and my fans can respect my need for privacy on this matter, said Lindsey in a statement to The Associated Press. [I will] continue to be coached by the US Ski Team and look forward to competing the rest of the season.

Thomas said in an email to the AP that he filed for divorce last Monday.

The 27-year-old skier's relationship with Thomas, whom she married on Sept. 29, 2007, has been a problem with her father, Alan, since a few years ago, before the 2006 Turin Olympics, according to Yahoo Sports. Thomas, a former U.S. Olympic skier himself, is nearly nine years older than Lindsey.

Thomas also replaced Alan as a coach and mentor, and Yahoo Sports reports that Alan Kildow wasn't even invited to his daughter's wedding. The two remain estranged.

Lindsey became one of the faces of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, winning a gold medal in the downhill and a bronze medal in the super-G, despite having a badly bruised shin. Thomas was cast in the spotlight when, after winning her gold medal, Lindsey excitedly embraced him at the bottom of the slope.

On Sunday, Lindsey skipped the season-opening World Cup slalom after slightly injuring her back during training. Yahoo Sports reports she plans to return to the slopes Tuesday for a downhill training run in Lake Louise, Alberta, the site of the next competition. She has 14 top-three finishes at the venue, including eight wins.

Lindsey has become a top skier in all U.S. history, winning three overall World Cup titles. She also has 42 World Cup wins, tying her with Sweden's Anja Paerson for fourth place on the career list.

With last month's giant slalom victory in Austria, Lindsey became just the fifth female skier to win a race in all five Alpine disciplines: Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super. She's also the second American skier to complete the discipline sweep, joining Bode Miller.