Lindsey Vonn is the most accomplished skier in American history, an inspiration to young skiers everywhere. On Tuesday night, NBC will broadcast, her best event.
Check the close-ups of Vonn's helmet as you watch her get ready in the block, or after she finishes her run. You'll notice a message on her helmet, that is a source of emotional motivation Vonn. NBC's Mike Tirico went to Wisconsin last fall to interview Vonn and her grandfather, Don Kildow. He passed a couple of months after that interview, on November 7.
NBC has aired a feature on Vonn's bond with her grandfather, and from this we've come to know even more about Vonn's past and the things that pushed her to compete in the Olympics once more, even after a slew of debilitating injuries.
As keen viewers have noticed, Vonn's helmet has a little something written on it. Curious minds wondered what that might be. Look closely and you'll see a heart-shaped symbol followed by the letters "D" and "K" for Don Kildow., that she was "going to win for him" while fighting back tears. What a great way for Vonn to pay homage to her grandfather, who also fought in the Korean War. The location of these Olympics only makes for that much more of a powerful experience for Vonn, who is almost certainly competing in her last Olympics.
Vonn has stated that much of her love of skiing can be traced back to her grandfather, who competed in ski jumping as a young man. You can easily understand why these Olympics are such an important part of Vonn's life and career.
As NBCOlympics.com notes, Vonn also has the Greek word for "believe" written on her right glove. She has the same word tattooed on her hand.
Vonn will race in the downhill on Tuesday night in the United States (Wednesday morning in South Korea). She took to the top of the podium in Vancouver in 2010, winning gold in the downhill eight years ago. If Vonn can pull of a medal-winning run, it may well be the most bittersweet win over her career. She'll have done it -- but without her grandfather able to be alive to see it.