Hosted by former Olympic figure skaters, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, The Best of US: The 2018 Winter Olympics shined a light on the best athletes from Team USA who will be competing in South Korea. However, it was alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn's story who brought tears to our eyes.
Returning to the Olympics for the first time in eight years, Vonn's passion for skiing all began in Milton, Wisconsin, where her grandparents, Don and Shirley Kildow, lived and where Vonn spends a few weeks every summer. In August of 2017, sportscaster Mike Tirico visited Vonn and her grandfather to learn more about their story.
"Now that the Olympics are coming up, it's kind of a trip down memory lane. We're talking about where he was stationed. It's actually pretty close to where I'm going to be racing, so it's really nice for me to actually talk about his stories with him now and I've learned a lot," Vonn shared with Tirico. Grandpa Don was stationed in Korea for two years during the Korean war, building roads as part of the Army Corps of Engineers and, when he returned to Wisconsin, he built the area's first ski hill, where he taught his family, including Vonn, how to ski.
Lindsey's grandfather sadly passed away in November. Fortunately, Tirico had the opportunity to sit down with the both of them before he died, where Vonn got a tad bit emotional as her grandfather spoke about how proud he was of his granddaughter.
Now in South Korea, Vonn tweeted just last week, "I think about the loss of my Grandpa every day, but today I miss him more. I wish he was here with me. I wish he could watch me in the Olympics in S Korea where he served in the war. I just wish he was here. I want to make him proud."
Vonn has already dedicated her 2018 Winter Olympics performance to Grandpa Don. Back in November, she shared on her instagram, "I will race for you in Korea and I will try as hard as I can to win for you. Please look out for me. I love you Grandpa." And we have no doubt that Lindsey Vonn will make him proud.