Monday, December 10, 2012

The Glass Island

December 10, 2012

Hello friends, family and fans,
Back on the road!
I took a train for Firenze to Milano, Milano to Tirano, and Tirano via the Bernino Express, snaking through the Alps, climbing into the exceptionally beautiful and glamorous Swiss town of St. Moritz.

It was a long weekend for me.  I need to get back into the swing of things again.  Because everything in Lindsey’s life is fast- I have to keep up!  We finished in St. Moritz on Monday night around 8.  Lindsey was filming for a new beauty commercial that took all day.  That morning when we were shooting on the top of the mountain I watched Lindsey do take after take with a smile on her face for the cameras.  It was snowing and cold and Lindsey was wearing only her speed suit.  Finally, when she was done with the scene we hurried back inside the lodge and I asked Lindsey:
 “Would you rather have a regular job?”  Lindsey answered “Sometimes I think it would be nice having the same schedule, 9-5, everyday.  And then I realize I could never do that.  It would get too boring!”

I thought back to the weekend and couldn’t decide if a regular job would be easier or more difficult.  If every talented athlete can be at the top, or if it takes a different kind of dedication- and even then, how long will they last?

Lindsey picked me up Thursday night at the train station.  I hadn’t seen Lindsey’s new bus yet and was excited to get my own bedroom. It’s like a tiny apartment on wheels.  It even has a little espresso machine!  I tested out the kitchen and made Lindsey dinner while she got ready for the combined the next morning.  We went to bed early and Lindsey woke me up after her workout at 7:20 the next morning.  Getting on the course for inspection at 8:15.

When you are that high up on the mountain the temperature is one thing, burning your fingers and toes until they become numb.  But the wind is what exhausts you.  The wind cuts your cheeks and bites the parts of your ears that aren’t covered. 
I have to quit and go inside early, mostly because I can quit.  Lindsey can’t, however, and she stays out there inspecting and taking warming up runs until the race starts.  Just because she’s a skier doesn’t mean she’s immune to the below freezing temperatures.  She’s used to frostbite, it’s all part of her job.

Lindsey had a good finish on the first run of the Super Combined but skied out in the Slalom.   Lindsey wasn’t too happy, but Slalom isn’t her strong suit so we were all hopeful for the Super G the next day.
Saturday the light on the hill was better and Lindsey seemed tired but ready.  Super G is only one run so Lindsey could really put all of her energy into it, instead of having two runs and risking fatigue.   I waited in the finish counting down the racers, dancing to shake the cold.  Finally Lindsey came down, and she came down faster then the rest.
Being with Lindsey for this much time you get to see the good days and the bad days.  Saturday was the day you want to be there for- a day of relief.  Of hard work paid off.  Of coaches hugging and the sound of our National Anthem.  It is a joy to be there on those days, but you don’t always get them, and that’s okay.  Sometimes you get mediocre days, and that’s what happened on Sunday.  Lindsey skied into 5th for the first run of the Giant Slalom.  Her energy wasn’t all there for the second run, however.  She skied fast but couldn’t gather enough strength to compensate a mistake, as she usually does, and skied out. But she gave it everything she had. 

It’s hard for me to evaluate the job of my sister.  I have worked at department stores, at a parking garage, as a babysitter.  I have worked with my father in an office starting at 8:30 and getting home around 7 to make dinner.  I have been there for my mother, wishing her luck on her finals when she went back to college for a different degree.  I helped my brothers going from job to job as landscapers, ski instructors, working at FedEx or hotels.  My other sister worked her way up after graduating, from intern to intern, and is finally regional marketing manager for a big-time company.  I have learned that a professional is a professional for a reason.  It’s not luck or kissing ass.  It’s talent and dedication. 
I went to Murano, “the glass island” in Venice, where they specialize in glass blowing.  They apprentice for 15 years before they can become a professional, but the real glass artists are the masters that show true talent.  The others sculptors just work for the artists to create their ideas.  They could apprentice their whole like and work to become the next famous artist, but if they don’t have the talent, they’re no one.
Lindsey is that famous artist.  The one that worked their whole life with that magic talent with the drive to be the best and the skill to stay on top. 
She made that entire crew shooting the commercial laugh and at ease throughout a long and tiresome day of shooting.  She deals with the media on good days and bad days, along with posing for pictures with fans.   She is a skier, but she is a professional and this is her job.  It may be glamorous or it may be a pain in the ass. 

Do what you love to do, do it with heart through the good days, the mediocre days, and the bad days- but never let yourself be bored with what you do.

We are now in Val’isere for the Downhill and Super G.  I hope you will all be watching and cheering Lindsey on!
Ciao tutti,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"How Do You Feel About Racing with the Men?"

October 27,2012: First race of the season.

Hello friends,family, and fans,
    My name is Laura Kildow. 22 year old aspiring writer, taking a year off from my school at the University of Iowa to travel around the world. My sister, Lindsey Vonn, is showing me the ropes. She is one of my best friends, an expert traveller and, of course, the fastest skier on the planet!I want everyone to know all about the ups and downs of being a world class athlete. I get all the access, updates, and Lindsey Vonn info you could ever want or need. I'll be by her side throughout the season. She calls me her mini me!
    Right now we are listening to Rascal Flatts "A Little Home" while Lindsey packs, I type. This weekend has been a roller coaster. When I arrived to the hotel, after traveling on a train for 7 hours, I had 10 minutes to get ready for dinner at 7:30.
  "Wait Lindsey...I have a question for you: how to you feel about racing with the men?" Lindsey said at dinner, quoting the reporters. "Lindsey, one more question... How do you feel about racing with the men?" She laughed along with her trainer and physiotherapist, Hagi and Ricky. "Oh wait, Lndsey, and how do you feel about racing with the men?" Lindsey repeated again, rolling her eyes. She makes a joke out of the media attacking her for her recent announcement about racing with the men in Lake Louis but it isn't fun and it's very stressful.
    Right away after dinner we went to bed. Lindsey had to get up at 6:30 to free-ski on the race hill. After, it was lunch, a short nap, and getting ready for some more media! We went to the Overall FIS forum with Marcel Herscher. "Oh and Lindsey, I have a question for you: how do you feel about racing with the men" I laughed to myself as Lindsey answered as if it was her first time answering. Her answers to this question are all honest and it makes me mad to think that people think this is a media stunt. Does the media really know her? I do, and I'll tell you that that is Lindsey being Lindsey. Write whatever you want about her because she is going to do what she wants. Was it a media stunt when she won a cow? She could have won money, but she wanted that cow. And she still visits Olym on her farm including a goat named after me! It would be far easier for Lindsey to stay out of the press and to not keep answering the same damn question thirty dozen times. That's just Lindsey. She wants to push her limits. She wants to set records and to make a difference for her sport. The public can criticize her, but I think it's awesome. I wouldn't expect anything less from Lindsey.
   So this weekend finished with Lindsey with a bandaged left arm.   The first run Lindsey came down strong but not fast enough. The second run was delayed first until 1:15 and then until 1:45. The fog on the course made it impossible to see even 5 gates ahead. Finally, the forerunners came down the hill. The fog on the hill had cleared up and they sent down the first racer. Immediately after the first racer has finished, the fog swept across the race course. Still, they kept sending down racers. Lindsey, coming down 19th, had limited visibility but was up six tenth on the first split. Standing in the finish is much more nerving than watching it on tv. I just want her to finish happy and without injury. So when she clipped her hand on a gate and skied out onto the side lines holding her wrist, I hoped she was okay. Of course Lindsey was, she has a high tolerance for pain. She always gets back up after she falls. Nevertheless, it could be a broken hand and she still carried my skis for me to the car whilst signing autographs and posing for pictures.
   Today I am going to the train station in Innsbruck, and Lindsey to the airport. When she goes home she will get her wrist looked at.
 With Lindsey, there's always something!
Until next time.
Laura Kildow Aka Schwesty ( German for Schwester: Sister)