Lindsey Vonn breaks down after bronze: 'I never gave up'

By Alex Butler  |  Feb. 21, 2018 at 11:31 AM
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Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Veteran Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn gave an emotional interview after what was likely the final downhill event of her Olympic career.

Vonn, 33, broke down after winning the bronze medal Wednesday in the women's downhill event. Italy's Sofia Goggia won the gold medal with a time of 1:39.22. Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel claimed the silver medal.

Vonn finished 13th in the women's Alpine combined and tied for sixth in the women's super-G in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

She wrote her grandfather's initials, "D.K." and a heart on her helmet during competition. Don Kildow died Nov. 1 at age 88. Vonn pointed to the sky after her final run and was asked about her grandfather during her interview with NBC.

"It's been really hard for me not to get emotional for so many reasons, especially because of my grandfather," she said. "I wanted to win so much because of him. But I still think I made him proud. Our family never gives up and I never gave up. I kept working hard. I'm really proud of this medal and I know he is, too."

Kildow was stationed in South Korea for two years during the Korean War. He also built Milton, Wisconsin's first ski hill. It was a 150-foot hill in a cow pasture.

Vonn fought back a stream of tears as she recalled the work she put into her comeback in order to reach the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

"I gave it my best shot. I tried so hard and I worked my butt off and I'm so proud to have competed with such amazing girls," she told NBC.

"My teammates have really supported me and we've helped each other. Most of us have been injured pretty severely, so I'm really happy and proud to be competing with them and to have their support. It's been fun. It's been a fun ride and I hope tomorrow I can maybe pull something out of the hat. But it's sad. This is my last downhill. I wish I could keep going. I have so much fun. I love what I do. My body just probably can't take another four years, but I'm proud. I'm proud to have competed for my country. I'm proud to have given it my all. I'm proud to come away with a medal."

Vonn's bronze gives her three Olympic medals during her decorated skiing career. She is just the third American Alpine skier to win at least three medals.

Vonn will face another top American skier on Thursday in South Korea when she takes on Mikaela Shiffrin in the women's Alpine combined event at Jeongseon Alpine Center.

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