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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For American skiing champion Lyndsey Vonn hurtling 85-miles-an-hour down an icy slope is nowhere near as nerve-racking as making her acting debut in her favorite television show "Law and Order."
Vonn, 25, who won a gold medal in downhill skiing and a bronze in Super-G at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, was delighted to be invited to make a guest appearance on the NBC crime drama that she has watched since she was a child.
Vonn has suffered a list of skiing injuries but she said it was scarier to take on the role of an office assistant called Alicia who has a vital clue in a case involving a terrorist. She stars in the show's 20th season finale that airs May 24.
"It was a lot more nerve-racking to be on the set of my favorite TV show and with my favorite characters than to be at the start of a World Cup or an Olympic race ... I was totally shaking," Vonn told a telephone press conference on Thursday.
"But I think being in high pressure situations like a World Cup or the Olympics makes you have to deal with your nerves and you have to be able to perform on the sport. That definitely helped me when I was trying to act on 'Law & Order.'"
The interview took place as reports emerged that NBC was canceling "Law & Order" which is one of the longest-running series on U.S. television, dating back 20 years.
The network declined to confirm or deny the reports.
"I would be devastated (if it was canceled)," said Vonn, who is the first American woman to win the Olympic downhill skiing. "Nothing really compares to the original "Law & Order.""
It was as Vonn was celebrating her Olympic success that she received a call from the executive producer of "Law & Order," Dick Wolf, asking if she was interested in a guest role. She jumped at the chance, saying she'd have played a corpse if asked.
She had appeared in commercials before but never acted.
"I think my character was a lot more fun to play than a corpse even though I would have been a corpse. I would have been pretty much anything to be on my favorite TV show," she joked.
Despite her nerves, Vonn said she really enjoyed her acting experience but her focus for the time being was skiing.
She has knocked back a request to appear on "Dancing with the Stars" as it clashes with the World Cup.
"Right now I am really focused on my skiing career but I had such a great time on 'Law & Order' and if any opportunities like this arise in the future I would definitely be interested," said Vonn, adding that another show she'd like to be on is "30 Rock."
For now it is back to the gym, six days a week with training six hours a day. Vonn starts snow training in August in New Zealand. Any advice for aspiring skiers?
"Follow your dreams. If you have a goal and you want to achieve it then work hard and do everything you can to get there and one day it will come true," she said.
Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Jill Serjeant