Lindsey Vonn scatters grandfather's ashes in South Korea

Don Kildow was a Korean War veteran
Posted at 5:00 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-24 14:53:08-05

Lindsey Vonn's grandfather, Don Kildow, has found his final resting place. 

After finishing her final run of PyeongChang, the Olympic ski star spread Kildow's ashes on a special rock near the start of the men's downhill course.

Vonn said Kildow served during the Korean War but never had a chance to return to the country he admired. But he always left a part of himself in South Korea and now a part of him can stay there forever. 

Fittingly, Kildow served a majority of his two years with the Army Corps of Engineers near Jeongseaon — the current site of the Olympic Alpine Center — and the exact place his granddaughter would potentially ski the final event of her prolific career. 

The intensely emotional scene had a perfect ending: Vonn securing her final Olympic medal with a bronze in the downhill. 

Earlier in the month, Vonn burst into tears when asked about her grandfather who died in November. 

"I miss him so much," she said. "He's been such a big part of my life. And I really had hoped that he would be alive to see me (at this year's Olympics). But I know he's watching, and I know that he's going to help me and I'm going to win for him."

During the week, Vonn met with a group of South Korean men who gave her family some gifts and a letter of thanks to mark her grandfather's service during the 1950-53 Korean War.

"To be able to race for him in these Olympics was very special for me. And I tried everything I could to win for him," Vonn said. "I got a bronze, which, you know, to me was very special. And I think he would be proud of that."

In their letter of appreciation, the South Korean men said they expressed their thanks for what they call her grandfather's contribution to the freedom of South Korea. 

After the Olympics, Vonn plans to go home to get ready for the World Cup finals. She said she's "enjoying the last remaining days of the Olympics" with her family.