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Vonn seeks Olympics skiing golden tribute to late grandfather

media Lindsey Vonn missed the 2014 Sochi Games due to injury. Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler

Lindsey Vonn broke down in tears on Friday in Pyeonchang as she recalled her late grandfather Don Kildow who inspired her love of skiing. Kildow, who died in November at the age of 88, taught Vonn's father how to ski before inspiring his grandchildren.

Shortly after her arrival in South Korea, emotion overwhelmed the veteran skier.

"I miss him so much," she sobbed. "He's been such a big part of my life."

Kildow was stationed not far from the Jeongseon Alpine Centre when he served with the US army during the Korean War in the 1950s. Nearly 70 years after those hostilities, Vonn says she will fight to claim gold in his honour.

"I really hoped that he would be alive to see me," she said. "But I know he's watching and I know that he's going to help me. I'm going to win for him."

Vonn prepared for the Games by winning both the women’s downhill events at Garmisch-Partenkirchen last weekend. That took her tally of World Cup victories to 81 just five off the 86 World Cup first place finishes, held by the Swede Ingemar Stenmark.

"I knew my main focus this year was solely on the Olympics," she said. "And so I've progressed my way through the season with that in mind. And. I'm very happy with how I feel physically, mentally and on skis. Last weekend was just the icing on the cake and exactly what I needed to build my confidence and be ready for these Olympics."

Vonn will compete in the super-G on 17 February, the downhill on 21 February and the alpine combined two days later. She has ruled out the giant slalom.

"My knee's not in place to do that," she said."I don't think I can contend for a medal so there's no point."

Eight years ago in Vancouver, Vonn won gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G. She missed the Sochi Games with a knee injury.

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