“I just feel like he’s watching out for me,” she said. “I have an extra piece of mind knowing that I have a guardian angel. I’ve never really been into that stuff, but I love my grandpa so much and I have to believe that he’s still around and he’s looking out for me.”
Vonn added, “I don’t really feel nervous — I feel like I have a little bit of advantage, especially with the weather. The wind’s been really bad and I feel like he’s going to make sure everything’s okay.”
The athlete shared a touching tribute dedicated to her grandfather in November, writing, “I wish i had more time with you but i will cherish the memories we had. You taught me to be tough, to be kind, and above all, to ski fast. Now, every time i ski down the mountain I know you’ll be there with me.”
The veteran skier, who took home one gold and one bronze medal during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, will hit the slopes in PyeongChang for the first time on Saturday when she competes in the Super-G, and wrote on Instagram that she is feeling “antsy” to make her 2018 Olympic debut.
After missing the Sochi Olympics in 2014 because of a knee injury, Vonn said she “finally feel[s] healthy” again. However, she’s fairly sure that PyeongChang will be her final outing as an Olympic skier.
“It’s definitely emotional. I’ve come a long way in my career, but I don’t want to see it end. I don’t want this to be my last Olympics, but I don’t think my body’s going to be able to hold up for very much longer,” she said. “So I’m just trying to soak it in. I’m trying to enjoy every single moment and enjoy this time with my teammates. I would love to go see some other events, but we’re pretty far away right now. I’m just taking it all in. I’m enjoying the last trip to the Games.”
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Vonn also talked about being a popular star at the opening ceremony last week, taking numerous selfies with her fellow Team USA athletes.
“It was really funny. I think I took more selfies during the opening ceremonies than I have at any of my World Cup races,” she shared. “It was awesome. The whole team atmosphere was so amazing. Everyone was having so much fun. They played ‘Gangham Style’ or whatever that song is, the Korean song, when we walked in, so everyone was just fully dancing and it was awesome.”
Another internet sensation? Vonn’s dog Lucy, who quickly turned into the first meme of this year’s Olympics after traveling for 24 long hours to the Games.
“I think it’s the jetlag… she’s so confused! Poor girl,” Vonn tweeted after a photo of Lucy’s terrified expression made the rounds online.
The Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more about the athletes, visit teamusa.org.