On Thursday, in an interview with CNN, Lindsey Vonn voiced her displeasure with the current U.S. administration and made it clear that she will turn down the traditional invitation to visit the White House U.S. Olympians receive following the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Lindsey Vonn made her stance on President Donald Trump and his administration clear today in St. Mortiz, Switzerland, where she's competing in a World Cup event to qualify for her second Olympics.
"I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the President," Vonn told CNN's Alpine Edge. "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 hasn’t qualified for the Winter Olympic Games that will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea in February (yet). But if she performs to the level she traditionally has (Vonn is the all-time winningest female skier in World Cup history) qualification will come easy for her, and she will join Team USA in participating at the games, which—interestingly enough—didn't seem all that certain over the past 24 hours.
Vonn at the World Cup stop in Lake Louise, Canada. Photo: Courtesy of Erich Spiess/Red Bull
Questions arose on Wednesday after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said “ there is an open question” about whether the Team USA would participate in the South Korea games due to concern for athlete and participant safety. After a White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders settled the matter, tweeting:
"The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues."
This isn’t the first time that political contention has meddled with the Winter Olympics, but Vonn is the first Olympic athlete this year to set the record straight about her desire to distance herself from the Trump administration. In fact, when asked if said she’d pay a visit to the White House as a member of Team USA, she promptly shot down the possible invitation.
"No,” she said. “I think every U.S. team member is invited. So no, I won't go."
According to Vonn, Trump and his policies are not an acceptable representation of the Olympics and what they symbolize.
"I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony," Vonn told CNN.
Vonn's clarification of what the Olympics mean for its athletes is interesting, as it references the oath that all Olympians must take before competing at the Olympics. Notably, that oath states nothing about supporting or representing a government or its policies, rather, the Olympic oath just affirms that athletes will be honest, honor their teams, and encourage the “true spirit of sportsmanship.” Read for yourself:
"In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."