VAIL, Colo. — A number of U.S. athletes have spoken out against Donald Trump during his presidency — and skier Lindsey Vonn of Vail has become the latest to have her say.
Targeting Olympic gold at February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Vonn is in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where she spoke passionately about what it means to compete for the U.S. ski team.
“Well I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president,” Vonn said.
The 33-year-old Vonn is getting ready for the final act of a long and illustrious career.
As well as competing for a second Olympic gold medal in South Korea, she is attempting to break the record of 86 World Cup victories held by Ingemar Stenmark since 1989.
Away from the slopes, Vonn also appears willing to put her head above the parapet and speak out about U.S. politics.
“I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony,” she said.
“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.”
This year, Trump has been embroiled in a controversy with the NFL and some of the NBA’s top players — a spat with significant racial and cultural undertones — after he blasted prominent athletes for kneeling during the national anthem and refusing to come to the White House.
And Vonn revealed she wouldn’t accept an invitation to the White House if she were to win gold at Pyeongchang.
“Absolutely not,” Vonn said. “No. But I have to win to be invited. No actually I think every U.S. team member is invited so no I won’t go.”
Pyeongchang will be Vonn’s first Games since Vancouver 2010, where her downhill triumph turned her into a global star and one of the world’s best-paid winter athletes with a net worth, according to Forbes, of about $3 million.
Vonn has battled with a number of serious injuries throughout her career, including a knee injury in 2013 that kept her out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Last year, she broke her arm and sustained nerve damage during a preseason training crash in the U.S., delaying the start of her season until January.
Vonn endured an underwhelming start to the new season, crashing out of last week’s opening downhill event at Lake Louise.