Lindsey Vonn Pays Tribute to Late Grandfather with Throwback Instagram Snap

Lindsey Vonn is dedicating her last Olympics to her late grandfather, who died in November. She posted footage of an interview with him on the eve of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday.

lindsey vonn with gramps
(Photo: Instagram/Lindsey Vonn)

The brief clip is from an interview with NBC's Mike Tirico, which was recorded before Don Kildow died on Nov. 1. Kidlow, a Korean War veteran, was 88 years old.

When asked what it is like to watch his granddaughter ski, Kildow pounded on his chest. "My heart doesn't stop," he said, before showing off the scrapbooks he kept chronicling Vonn's career.

Vonn has had bad luck with the Olympics. She suffered a back injury during the 2006 Turin Games, skied with a bruised shin at the 2010 Vancouver Games and missed the Sochi Games completely thanks to a knee injury. She hoped she could go into Pyeongchang without injuries, but Kildow's death means she is skiing with a broken heart.

"I still can’t believe you’re gone," Vonn wrote on Instagram on Nov. 10. "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."

Even though it has been three months since his death, Vonn still teared up whenever she spoke about him at the Olympics Friday.

"I want so badly to do well for him and I miss him so much," Vonn told reporters, reports USA Today. "He’s been such a big part of my life. I really had hoped he would be alive to see me. I know he’s watching. I know that he’s going to help me. I’m going to win for him.”

Vonn is already in South Korea, even though her first race, the Super-G, is not until Feb. 17. She will also compete in the downhill on Feb. 21 and Alpine combined on Feb. 23.

“I feel like I’m coming into these Olympics on a hot streak. I’m skiing exceptionally well and I have a lot of confidence,” she told reporters. “I’m very happy with how I feel physically, mentally and on skis. Last weekend was just the icing on the cake, exactly what I needed to build my confidence and get ready for the Olympics.”

Although the 33-year-old Vonn fought through injuries at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, she still won a gold medal in downhill and bronze in Super-G. She also has two gold medals from the World Championships and won bronze in downhill at the 2017 St. Mortiz World Championships.

Photo credit: Instagram/ Lindsey Vonn