Skier Lindsey Vonn is competing in her last Olympics in PyeongChang. She’s there to try and win another medal, and to make up for missing the Sochi Olympics with an injury. But Vonn isn’t just there for herself. She’s there for someone else, and NBCOlympics.com revealed that she carries a reminder of that every time she races.
On her helmet, Vonn has written the initials “D.K.” in permanent marker. Those are the initials of her late grandfather, Don Kildow, who supported and inspired Vonn throughout her life.
Don Kildow served in the Korean War, and was stationed not far from where Vonn has raced in PyeongChang. When Don returned from Korea to his home in Milton, Wisconsin, he built the area’s first ski hill. Don was a competitive ski jumper, so both skiing and competition are in Vonn’s blood.
Don died on November 7, a few months short of seeing his granddaughter compete in her fourth Olympics. Vonn has said that she wants to “win for him” in PyeongChang.
To complement her grandfather’s inspiration, Vonn has also written the Greek word for “believe” on the thumb of her right glove. It’s just like a tattoo she has on one of her fingers, but with her hands covered, writing it on the glove is a visual reminder of what she has to do every time she’s on the slopes: believe in herself.
Vonn will compete in the downhill on Tuesday. She won gold in that event eight years ago in Vancouver, and maybe the messages she’s written on her race suit will help her win gold once again.