The two-time medallist told reporters Friday that staying safe would be her focus during her return from a long, health-related hiatus. While she was lighthearted for most of the press conference, her mood shifted when asked about her grandfather.
“I miss him so much. He’s been such a big part of my life. And I really had hoped that he would be alive to see me (at these Olympics). But I know he’s watching, and I know that he’s going to help me and I’m going to win for him,” Vonn said.
Kildow passed away peacefully on Nov 1, 2017, at the age of 88. He served in the U.S. military during the Korean war.
“I’m just going to lay it all out there. I’m going to give it everything I have, and whatever happens, will happen. I’m not going to be nervous. I know he’s looking out for me, and that actually gives me a lot of peace of mind,” she said.
Vonn, 33, is the most successful woman on the World Cup ski circuit. While she’s excited to be back on the world stage, she contends that injuries she’s spent over three years recovering from may prevent her from competing in as many events as she used to.
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She will compete in the downhill, the super-G and the combined, but said Friday that she plans to sit out the giant slalom “because my knee is not really in a place to do that.” She hopes to repeat her downhill gold from Vancouver in 2010 after missing out in Sochi four years ago due to her injuries. She also walked away from the 2010 games with a bronze in the super-G.
If she medals, Vonn would be the oldest woman to win an Olympic Alpine medal.
With files from Reuters and the Associated Press.