Olympic gold medalist and top American skier Lindsey Vonn (nee Kildow) is divorcing husband and chief advisorThomas Vonn after four years of marriage.
The Associated Press reported that Thomas Vonn filed for divorce last week and will no longer have a role in his wife’s life on or off the slopes. Lindsey plans to keep her married name after the split.
“This is an extremely difficult time in my personal life and I hope the media and my fans can respect my need for privacy on this matter,” she said in a statement to the AP on Sunday night.
Lindsey was most recently in the news for attending a homecoming dance in Vail with a teenage boy who asked her out after spotting her in a restaurant. She told the CBS Early Show that it was her first school dance she even learned to Dougie. Here’s the video link.
Twenty-seven year old Lindsey Vonn had success on the slopes before her marriage, but after tying the knot with Thomas on Sept. 29, 2007, she became the most successful female skier in American history,
With Thomas as her coach and unofficial manager, Lindsey became one of five women to win World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing: Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Combined. She has blossomed into one of the top racers in U.S. history, winning three overall World Cup titles.
Originally from Minnesota, Lindsey was taught to ski by her father, Alan Kildow, who had been a national junior skiing champion before being sidelined by injury. Kildow even moved his family to Colorado to foster Lindsey’s passion for the slopes and her career. She made her Olympic debut at the 2002 Winter Olympics at age 17.
But Kildow disapproved when Lindsey began dating Thomas Vonn, a former U.S. Olympic skier who is nearly nine years her senior. Eventually Thomas replaced Lindsey’s father as a coach and mentor. Alan Kildow wasn’t invited to his daughter’s wedding and the two remain estranged.
Thomas Vonn served not only as his wife’s coach but as her adviser throughout much of their nearly decade-long relationship. He tended to all the logisitcs, including interviews, media requests, scheduling and more freeing Lindsey to concentrate on skiing and winning medals.
Lindsey became one of the faces of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, winning a gold medal in the downhill – the first ever in the event for an American woman – and a bronze in the super-G. She parlayed her Olympic success into lucrative endorsements and celebrity status and even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated – one of only a handful of female athletes to do so. She often credited her husband with calming her nerves enough to help win the big championships.
Lindsey skipped the season-opening World Cup slalom Sunday after slightly injuring her back during training. She plans to return to the slopes Tuesday for a downhill training run in Lake Louise, Alberta, the site of the next competition and a venue where she typically skis well. .
She added in her statement that she will continue to be coached by the U.S. team and looks forward to competing the rest of the season.
The marriage may have crashed, but let’s hope Lindsey’s career doesn’t.