Lindsey Vonn will be representing the “people of the United States, not the president” at February’s Winter Olympics, the American skiing star has revealed.
Her remarks about US President Donald Trump came in an interview with CNN’s Alpine Edge programme as the 33-year-old prepares to make what is expected to be her final appearance at an Olympics.
One of the world’s best-known winter sports athletes, Vonn, said: “I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president.
“I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony.
“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.”
The 2010 Olympic and eight-time World Cup downhill champion has been plagued with injuries in recent years, and missed Sochi 2014, but is fit again now after breaking her arm a year ago.
Vonn, who also said she would not accept an invitation to the White House if she were to win gold in Pyeongchang, is not the first major American athlete to criticise Trump, who has usually wasted little time in retaliating via Twitter.
The former girlfriend of golf star Tiger Woods was also asked for her views on how the International Olympic Committee has responded to the uncovering of Russia’s state-sponsored doping programme.
“If even a small percentage of that is true I would think the IOC did the right thing,” she said.
“Obviously, there are potential athletes that are clean but they have the option now to compete under a neutral flag, which I think is a good solution.
“But doping and what the Russians did is just not acceptable and we have to make that clear. And make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Vonn’s comments, however, come at a time when America’s presence at the Games, now only nine weeks away, is still “an open question”, according to the US ambassador to the United Nations.
With Pyeongchang only 40 miles from the North Korean border, questions have been raised about the safety of Americans at a time when their government is in open dispute with North Korea over the Communist state’s ballistic missile tests.
Asked by Fox News if it was a “done deal” that Team USA would compete, Nikki Haley said: “There is an open question but in the talks we have it’s always about ‘how do we protect the US citizens in the area?’.
“So those are conversations that are happening daily. We have to watch this closely and it’s changing by the day.”