United States Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn has received backlash following her disparaging comments about President Donald Trump, prompting her to clarify her position on social media.
In an Instagram post, Vonn said she was trying to articulate that Olympic athletes are not representative of Republicans or Democrats, but rather of their nation “as a whole.”
“The Olympics are a non-political event, a chance for everyone to put aside their differences and be on the same ‘team,’” she wrote.
Vonn, who recently suffered a minor back injury in Switzerland while preparing for the upcoming Olympics, infamously told CNN that she would not visit Trump’s White House upon being invited as a member of the U.S. team.
As I head to France for the next races, I would like to share with you my reflections from the past few days. I've received a tremendous amount of feedback, both positive and negative, about my recent CNN interview. The point that I was trying to articulate is that all Olympic athletes represent their nation as a whole, and are not representatives of their government or any specific political figure or party. None of us work tirelessly for years on end to compete in the Olympics on behalf of Democrats or Republicans. The Olympics are a non-political event, a chance for everyone to put aside their differences and be on the same "team.". That does not mean that Olympic athletes don't have political opinions. As an American, I am extremely proud that our great nation was founded on principals and ideals where citizens can express our opinions openly. It is a privilege that some others around the world don't have. I am proud to be an American, and I want our country to continue to be a symbol of hope, compassion, inclusion and world unity. My travels around the world have recently made clear that this is no longer how people view the United States. You cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV in Europe without noticing how people are questioning our direction. It seems to me that we must lead with understanding and strive for unity in our relationships throughout the world. As for myself, my recent comments opened up my eyes as to how divided we are right now. It is hurtful to read comments where people are hoping I break my neck or that God is punishing me for being "anti-Trump." We need to find a way to put aside our differences and find common ground in communicating. Is it wrong to hope for a better world? All of this is much bigger than skiing and the Olympics. I am going to take the next two months to focus on what I can do and right now that is competing for my country. In doing that, I will be hoping that we Americans can still be that "shining city on a hill."
During the interview, Vonn explained that she wanted to “represent our country well.”
“I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that,” she said, apparently referring to the president as one.
Those comments prompted severe backlash from those who disagreed with her stance.
Some even reportedly told her that her injury was God’s punishment for being anti-Trump, she wrote in her Instagram post.
She said the ordeal has opened her eyes as to how “divided” we are.
We certainly support Vonn’s right to disagree with the president and wouldn’t wish harm to her for doing so. Those who have wished her harm are a poor representation of the U.S. and Trump supporters.
However, in her plea for a less divisive country, she herself has been a part of the division with her negative comments about Trump.
Being “united” means little if we are united in error, on problematic principles or for the wrong reasons. Division is OK, as long as we are divided because some of us are defending truth, honor and country against those who would change the very fabric of America if given the opportunity.
Vonn is a talented athlete, but if she wants to represent the best of America, perhaps she should avoid inserting politics into her sport.
Instead, she represented the very division she later claimed to despise.