Winter Olympics: Lindsey Vonn dad’s bronze medal smackdown
TO most families, a bronze medal at age 33 — the oldest ever for an alpine skier — would be considered a proud accomplishment, but apparently not to Lindsey Vonn’s father.
In an emotional third-place finish in her likely final women’s downhill Wednesday, Vonn fought tears while explaining just how special this medal was to her after finishing behind Italy’s Sofia Goggia and Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel.
“I wanted to win so much for him,” Vonn, referring to her late grandfather, Don Kildow, said after the race. “But I still think I made him proud. Our family never gives up, and I kept working hard and I’m really proud of this medal. I know he is, too.”
Her pride in the event wasn’t replicated by her father, Alan Kildow, who recently reconciled with Vonn after more than a decade of tension and little communication.
“It’s great skiing, but it reminds me of something that Buddy Werner used to say,” Kildow told USA Today Sports, referring to a US skier from the 1950s. “He said there’s two places in the race, first and last, and I only want one of them.”
Kildow’s criticism of Vonn’s bronze run was centered on her needing to be more aggressive.
“Just little, little spots,” he added. “Just not quite risking enough. Not straightening the line out, just the ski was little … not quite carving in some places like it should have. But a great result. A great result.”
Speaking after her race, Vonn, who was favoured to win the event, expressed how grateful she was to have her father and family get to see her compete in PyeongChang. Kildow introduced Vonn to the sport at a young age, but the two grew distant after a 22-year-old Vonn married Thomas Vonn in 2007, as outlined in a Sports Illustrated feature. She kept his last name after the couple divorced four years later and, in between then, Vonn won gold in the downhill at the Vancouver Games while Kildow watched from his office in the States.
The death of Kildow’s father and Vonn’s grandfather, Don, brought the two emotionally back together last year.
It was Kildow’s last chance to watch his daughter in the downhill on the Olympic stage. Vonn admitted the event would, in all likelihood, be the last time she competed in it at the Olympics.
“It’s been a fun ride and I hope tomorrow I can pull something out of the hat,” Vonn said, referring to the alpine combined, in which she’s scheduled to compete but not contend, on Wednesday night.
“It’s sad, it’s my last downhill. I wish I could keep going, you know. I have so much fun and I love what I do, but my body probably can’t take another four years.”
This article originally appeared on the New York Post