Lindsey Vonn has defended herself in the face of a torrent of online abuse as critics accused her of being anti-American, and said she is ‘hurt’ by the negative comments.
In the buildup to the games, the skier stirred up controversy when she said that she hoped to represent the US well in Pyeongchang before adding: “I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”
After a late mistake cost Vonn a medal in the super-G event on Saturday, the 33-year-old received a flurry of tweets accusing her of being unpatriotic, with many suggesting she deserved to fail.
“I’m the most American person you will ever find,” she responded. “I’m from Minnesota, from farmland. My family are solid, wholesome people and I love my country and I love competing for my country. I’m so proud to be here representing the United States.
“It hurts me when people say that because it’s just not true.”
Vonn said she would now ignore the criticism, at least until after the Games. “I’d like to say a lot, but I feel like right now is not the time because I need to focus on my races and that’s what’s most important to me right now.
“My opinions haven’t changed, I’ve just chosen to focus on my sport right now and after these races, when there’s a good opportunity where I can make a positive impact, then I will speak up again.”
Vonn will now prepare for her favourite event, the downhill, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
“In general, this season, I feel like I’ve been much better in downhill than super-G. And this hill suits me really well for downhill, also. I’m confident for the downhill.”