Lindsey Vonn, the ski Olympic gold medalist and her husband have decided to divorce after four years of marriage.
Lindsey Vonn, 27, confirmed on Sunday night that she and Thomas Vonn have started divorce proceedings. Her husband also serves as her chief adviser.
“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,” Lindsey Vonn said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Lindsey Vonn elected to skip the season-opening World Cup slalom race Sunday to rest a sore back she recently tweaked in training. She plans to return to the slopes Tuesday for a downhill training run in Lake Louise, Alberta, the site of the next competition.
Thomas Vonn, 35, said in an email to The AP that he filed for divorce last Monday.
Lindsey and Thomas married on September 29, 2007.
Lindsey Vonn became one of the faces of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, winning a gold medal in the downhill and a bronze in the super-G – all on a badly bruised shin.
Her shining moment in Vancouver was years in the making, beginning when her father, Alan Kildow, introduced her to skiing. Her father even moved the family to Colorado to foster that passion for the slopes.
But Lindsey Vonn had a falling out with her father a few years ago. By all accounts, the feud began before the 2006 Turin Olympics, when she was known as Lindsey Kildow.
Part of the escalating tension had to do with her relationship with Thomas Vonn, a former U.S. Olympic skier who is nearly nine years older.
Lindsey Vonn’s father, a Minneapolis-based attorney, spoke with AP before the 2010 Olympics and said that while he did not want to get into details. He said: “She’s my daughter, I love her, and in that sense it’s great.”
For her part, though, Lindsey Vonn has been critical of her father’s pressured attitude towards her success.
“He always supported me when I did well, which was 90 per cent of the time, but when I didn’t, he didn’t handle it very well,” Lindsey Vonn told Denver Post in 2010.
“It was so hot and cold. It was so much criticism and so much negativity, and it was really hard to balance my emotions.”
Alan Kildow was reportedly not invited to his daughter’s wedding.
Over the years, Thomas Vonn became a rock in her life as he helped coordinate interviews, provided tips on the course and made sure logistics were taken care of, freeing Lindsey Vonn to focus on skiing.
Lindsey Vonn has blossomed into one of the top racers in U.S. team history, winning three overall World Cup titles. She also has 42 World Cup wins, tying her with Sweden’s Anja Paerson for fourth place on the all-time list.
With her victory in the giant slalom last month in Soelden, Austria, Lindsey Vonn became just the fifth female skier to win a race in all five Alpine disciplines. She’s also the second American skier to complete the discipline sweep, joining Bode Miller.
Lindsey Vonn could add to her win total this week at Lake Louise, on a hill where she’s typically skied very well. She has 14 podium finishes at the venue, including eight wins.
She has appeared in Sports Illustrated magazine’s swimsuit edition – infamously photographed in skiing tuck position in a bikini for its cover – and came 59th on Maxim’s Hot 100 list.
Lindsey Vonn said in a statement that she will “continue to be coached by the U.S. Ski Team and look forward to competing the rest of the season”.