Lindsey Vonn upstaged her own Bronze-winning performance in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games last night, giving a tearful and poignant interview to NBC that praised her family, her late grandfather and reiterated the pride she felt in competing for her country.
On her helmet during the Games in South Korea, Vonn wore the D.K. initials of her grandfather, who died last November, and the emotion seemed to overwhelm her following her final Alpine run.
Watch the interview below.
“It’s been really hard for me not to get emotional for so many reasons especially for my grandfather,” Vonn said, adding through tears, “but I still think I made him proud. Our family never gives up….I’m really proud of this medal and I know he is too.”
On the topic of her final Alpine run, she said, “It’s sad, this is my last downhill, I wish I could keep going. I have so much fun, I love what I do…but my body can’t take another four years.”
Vonn also said she was “proud to compete” for her country, a reference perhaps to one of the more controversial elements of these Games. The skier became an internet target after she said she hoped to represent the U.S. well because “I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government to do that.”
Social media brickbats followed Vonn throughout her Games, at one point drawing her comment, “I’m the most American person you will ever find. I’m from Minnesota, from farmland. My family are solid, wholesome people and I love my country and I love competing for my country. I’m so proud to be here representing the United States. It hurts me when people say that because it’s just not true.”
Later, Vonn said she wanted to focus on her performance, but that eventually she would “like to say a lot.”
Typical of the haters were tweets like this:
Tweets like those prompted ESPN’s Julie Foudy to come to Vonn’s defense, whtich drew Vonn’s thanks:
But after last night’s Bronze performance, Vonn found considerable support. A couple examples:
Here is Vonn’s post-ski interview on NBC: