“So Much Negativity”- Lindsey Vonn Opened Up on Strained Relationship With Her Father

Published 06/18/2022, 8:30 AM EDT

The path to success is never a straight line, and every athlete goes through ups and downs, no matter how good they are. It’s their support system that helps them get through the lows, and not get disheartened by a loss. For Lindsey Vonn, her father was never the voice of encouragement when she didn’t win gold.

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The alpine skiing icon’s father was the one who got her to fall in love with the sport. But their relationship has always been a little contentious, even during the few years when they didn’t speak at all.

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Lindsey Vonn on her estrangement from her father

The Olympic champion and her father, Alan Kildow, had been estranged for years because of Lindsey’s marriage to her ex-husband, Thomas Vonn. Their wedding took place in September 2007, but according to Lindsey, they had a difficult relationship even before that. A few months before the 2006 Turin Olympics, Vonn opened up to the Denver Post about her father.

“He always supported me when I did well, which was 90 percent of the time, but when I didn’t, he didn’t handle it very well,” Vonn said“It was so hot and cold. It was so much criticism and so much negativity, and it was really hard to balance my emotions.”

ST MORITZ, SWITZERLAND – MARCH 16: Lindsey Vonn of the USA poses with the Women’s World Cup Downhill Crystal Globe trophy after the Women’s Downhill Race on March 16, 2016 in St Moritz, Switzerland. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Four years after her marriage, Lindsey reached out to her father about the divorce. From there, they started rebuilding their relationship little by little. Even though he missed Vonn’s victory at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, he was in the stands for her last Olympic run at Pyeongchang.

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His reaction to Vonn’s bronze in the downhill gives us more insight into their relationship. “It’s great skiing, but it reminds me of something that Buddy Werner used to say,’’ Kildow told USA TODAY Sports. “He said there’s two places in the race, first and last, and I only want one of them.’’

Who is Alan Kildow?

Lindsey Vonn’s father, Alan Kildow, is an attorney. But before his switch to law, Kildow was an avid ski racer. He won the junior nationals before a knee injury cut his promising career short at age 18. Nevertheless, he passed on his love for the sport to his daughter, putting her in a pair of skis at just 2 years old.

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Kildow’s ski coach was Erich Sailer, a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. And when Vonn started showing interest and skill in the sport, he moved the family to Minneapolis so she could also train under Sailer.

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Lindsey Vonn’s mother, Linda Krohn, had five kids with Kildow, Vonn being the oldest. However, in 2003, they separated. When Vonn filed for divorce in 2011, she turned to her father for support. Being a lawyer and a divorcee himself, he guided her through a difficult time in her life and the two reconnected.

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Mansi Jain

193 articles

Mansi Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia and Mass Communication from the University of Delhi and has also previously interned for HT Media. She is always one mention of Yuzuru Hanyu away from delivering an hour-long speech about the athlete's legacy.

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