Vonn, father had falling out

Vonn mum on strained relationship with dad

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The Vancouver Olympics are shaping up to be Lindsey Vonn's shining moment, the apex of a career that began years ago when her father introduced her to skiing. He saw enough talent in his daughter to move the whole family to Colorado.

Lindsey Vonn's career began when her father, Alan Kildow, introduced her to skiing. The two had a rift, and he likely will be watching the Vancouver Olympics from home.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Lindsey Vonn's career began when her father, Alan Kildow, introduced her to skiing. The two had a rift, and he likely will be watching the Vancouver Olympics from home.

Yet Alan Kildow, himself a former competitive skier, will almost certainly have to watch on television, not in person, when Vonn competes as perhaps the biggest U.S. star of the Winter Games. They had a falling out a few years ago.

Vonn does not like to discuss the estrangement, but by all accounts the feud began before the 2006 Turin Olympics.

"He always supported me when I did well, which was 90 percent of the time, but when I didn't, he didn't handle it very well," Vonn told the Denver Post a few months before those games. "It was so hot and cold. It was so much criticism and so much negativity, and it was really hard to balance my emotions."

It's become an off-limits subject for all concerned. Kildow, a Minneapolis lawyer, is happy to chat about his daughter's skiing, just not the source -- or extent -- of the rift.

"I don't get into the details," Kildow told The Associated Press in a recent telephone interview. "She's my daughter, I love her, and in that sense it's great."

The tension escalated with Lindsey's relationship with Thomas Vonn, a former U.S. Olympic skier who is nearly nine years older. Kildow disapproved, but the two were married in 2007, and Vonn became the rock in her life.

For that, Lindsey's mother, Linda Krohn, couldn't be happier. No need to worry as her daughter travels all around Europe.

"He's so good to her, so that she only has to worry about ski racing," said Krohn, who was divorced from Kildow in 2003 and now lives in Apple Valley, a suburb of Minneapolis. "It's a wonderful relationship."

Krohn has hardly missed a race this season, getting up in the early morning to watch her daughter's competitions on the Internet. She sits close to the fire with her cat, Cocoa, always close by.

After each race, Krohn sends off an e-mail to her daughter to say how proud she is. The response is typically the same: "Thanks, Mom. I love you," with a little smiley face.

In another suburb of Minneapolis, Kildow watches, too. He takes in the competitions with a keen eye.

What he sees is the skier he pretty much always envisioned, the one who at 17 showed a glimpse of her great promise, making her first Olympic team in 2002 and finishing sixth in the combined in Salt Lake City.

"Technically, she is so perfect," Kildow said. "The hip position, the shoulder position, the hand position -- she's the best. ... I think Lindsey is the best now as far as I've ever seen. Of course, I'm biased."

Kildow calls his daughter and drops her e-mails, just to check in. Whether she responds, he wouldn't say. "That's between her and I."

Thomas Vonn said the relationship has not thawed.

"Nothing has changed there, but that's as far as we really comment on it," he said. "She chooses not to speak with him, and there's nothing really going on there at all."

FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lindsey Vonn's career began when her father, Alan Kildow, introduced her to skiing. The two had a rift, and he likely will be watching the Vancouver Olympics from home.


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