Lindsey Vonn, U.S. Olympic skier, is recognized for her astounding athletic achievements and even the most successful female skier of all time. However, recently she has been recognized for her remarks of protest against President Donald Trump surrounding the upcoming Winter Olympics, set to take place in PyeongChang, South Korea in 2018.
In December, she told CNN she refused to accept any invitation from Donald Trump to visit the White House, despite the traditional appearance of Olympic athletes in the White House following the Olympics. She believes that as an athlete she has a voice, and “[she] was asked [her] opinion and [she] gave it” even though politics may not be her main priority. Vonn said, “I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president.”
She continued, stating, “I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony. I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”
Vonn’s statement received severe and immediate retribution as the public took to the internet to share their opinion on the matter. Many flooded to support her, while others hoped she would break her neck for “being anti-Trump.”
She took to Instagram to clarify the message she meant to convey, saying she meant no athlete represents a political party at the Olympics as it is not a political event, and they represent the country as a whole and “put aside their differences and be on the same ‘team.’” Vonn continued by sharing that this experience has opened her eyes to see the division in our country and hopes to unify and share the beliefs of expressing individual opinions.
Vonn suffered an arm injury and was out for 7 months of 2017. Additionally, a knee injury kept her from competing during the 2014 Sochi Games, although she still participated as a newscaster for NBC; so, her last Olympic appearance was in Vancouver in 2010 when she won gold. Her absences from skiing in previous years has added to her anticipation for the coming Games.
Vonn is not the first athlete to deny invitations from the president to the White House. The entire Golden State Warriors basketball team, led by Stephen Curry, protested Trump and his negative remarks regarding Colin Kaepernick’s, whom Vonn greatly admires, protest and the Black Lives Matter Movement and refused invitation to the White House after winning the 2017 NBA Championship.
Whether you agree with her political beliefs or not, Vonn’s talent cannot be argued. She is one of 6 women to win World Cup races in all five types of alpine skiing: downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, and super combined. She has won over 77 World Cup races.
For updates on Lindsey Vonn and her athletic performances, stay tuned in 2018 to the PyeongChang Olympic Games for her Olympic debut.