Hosted by former Olympic figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, The Best of U.S.: The 2018 Winter Olympics shone a light on the best athletes from Team U.S.A. who will compete in South Korea. And it was alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn’s story that brought tears to our eyes.
Returning to the Olympics for the first time in eight years, Vonn has a passion for skiing that began in Milton, Wis., where her grandparents Don and Shirley Kildow lived and where Vonn spends a few weeks every summer. In August 2017, sportscaster Mike Tirico visited Vonn and her grandfather to learn more about their story.
Grandpa Don was stationed in Korea for two years during the Korean war, building roads as part of the Army Corps of Engineers. When he returned to Wisconsin, he built the area’s first ski hill, where he taught his family — including Vonn — how to ski.
“Now that the Olympics are coming up, it’s kind of a trip down memory lane. We’re talking about where he was stationed. It’s actually pretty close to where I’m going to be racing, so it’s really nice for me to actually talk about his stories with him now, and I’ve learned a lot,” Vonn shared with Tirico.
It was fortunate that Tirico had the opportunity to sit down with them then; sadly, Lindsey’s grandfather passed away in November.
During their chat with Tirico, Vonn got a bit bit emotional as her grandfather spoke about how proud he was of his granddaughter.
Vonn, who is now in South Korea, tweeted just last week, “I think about the loss of my Grandpa every day, but today I miss him more. I wish he was here with me. I wish he could watch me in the Olympics in S Korea where he served in the war. I just wish he was here. I want to make him proud.”
I think about the loss of my Grandpa every day, but today I miss him more. I wish he was here with me. I wish he could watch me in the Olympics in S Korea where he served in the war. I just wish he was here. I want to make him proud.
— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 1, 2018
Vonn has already dedicated her 2018 Winter Olympics performance to Grandpa Don. In November, she shared on her Instagram, “I will race for you in Korea and I will try as hard as I can to win for you. Please look out for me. I love you Grandpa.”
Dear Grandpa, I still can’t believe you’re gone. No words can describe how much you mean to me and how much i love you. I wish i had more time with you but i will cherish the memories we had. You taught me to be tough, to be kind, and above all, to ski fast. Now, every time i ski down the mountain I know you’ll be there with me. I’m proud to be your granddaughter and I will think of you always. I will race for you in Korea and I will try as hard as I can to win for you. Please look out for me. I love you Grandpa. Lindsey
A post shared by L I N D S E Y • V O N N (@lindseyvonn) on Nov 10, 2017 at 6:11pm PST
We have no doubt Vonn will make him proud.
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