Alan Kildow is the father of Olympic skier, Lindsey Vonn. She will be competing in three alpine disciplines in the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Her dad is expected to be in attendance, watching her go for gold in what she says will be her last Olympic appearance.
He most recently worked as a commercial litigation attorney at Briggs and Morgan, headquartered in Minnesota. Prior to his law career, Kildow was an avid ski racer, having won the junior nationals, until a knee injury put him on the shelf at age 18. In addition to sharing injuries, the two actually trained with the same coach, Erich Sailer, with whom Kildow had his daughter work after passing on his passion for the sport.
In recent years, Kildow’s relationship with Vonn has been contentious, stemming from her marriage to now-ex-husband Thomas Vonn. Their estrangement began as a result of Kildow’s displeasure with the nine-year age difference between the former couple. Lindsey Vonn and Kildow are rebuilding their relationship, a process that actually started when she called him for advice on handling her divorce.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Is an Attorney
Kildow has a law degree and has spent most of his adult life working as an attorney. In 2017, he was a partner at Briggs and Morgan in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to the firm’s website.
His concentration with Briggs and Morgan is “complex commercial litigation,” which deals with disputes that occur within businesses. This can include things like breach of contract, class action lawsuits, and shareholder issues.
“Kildow concentrates in the prosecution and defense of complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on disputes arising out of banking and insurance transactions. He has represented banking, insurance, and other Fortune 500 clients in civil and class actions involving antitrust, RICO, lender liability, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and deceptive trade practices, among other disputes. He also represents banking and insurance clients in investigations, enforcement proceedings, and civil litigation with regulators and attorneys general,” reads his bio on the Briggs and Morgan website.
Before joining Briggs and Morgan, Kildow worked as a managing partner at DLA Piper for 12 years.
2. He Used to Ski & He Competed When He Was Younger, But an Injury Ended His Career in the Sport
When he was younger, Kildow was quite an accomplished skier. He trained with Erich Sailer, a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. Kildow was so good, in fact, that he won junior nationals in skiing.
At age 18, Kildow had been training with the Austrian national ski team. However, he ended up busting his knee and his career came to a halt. In April 2017, Kildow underwent knee replacement surgery.
He and Sailer ended up becoming good friends over the years, and that friendship is one of the main reasons that Kildow moved to Minnesota.
Kildow started teaching Vonn how to ski when she was just 2 years old. When she was 6, he brought her to a place called Buck Hill near Burnsville, Minnesota, and had her train with Sailer.
“If I wouldn’t never have come (to Buck Hill), there would never be a Lindsey. Because I got Alan a job with a company so he could go to school. He went to school in the day and would be coaching at night. He met his wife. So it happened. Lindsey was born here … and it just was really exceptional, an unbelievable story,” Sailer recently told Golf Digest.
3. He Didn’t Approve of Lindsey’s Relationship With Thomas Vonn & Didn’t Attend Their Wedding
Vonn met former U.S. alpine ski racer Thomas Vonn when she was just 17 years old. Thomas Vonn was 26 years old at the time, but he and Lindsey pursued a relationship and ended up falling in love. Their nine-year age difference was something that bothered Lindsey’s dad.
Although she knew how her dad felt, Lindsey accepted Thomas’ wedding proposal and the two planned to tie the knot. Things ended up getting pretty ugly and Lindsey’s relationship with her dad derailed. In fact, Lindsey didn’t invite her father to her wedding, which took place in September 2007.
Kildow and his daughter didn’t speak for several years after that.
“I can see any father being upset at the age difference. But I would at least try to meet the person and have a dialogue,” a 32-year-old Thomas Vonn told Sports Illustrated in 2008.
“I loved him and I didn’t want to end my relationship just because [my father] said so. It forced me to take sides,” Lindsey Vonn told the outlet.
“As a father, as a parent, you want to protect and guide your children,” Kildow told Sports Illustrated.
4. Kildow Was There When His Daughter Needed Him Four Years Later
Thomas and Lindsey Vonn were married for four years before they decided to part ways. Things got a little complicated, however, as the two didn’t have a prenuptial agreement in place.
Lindsey was leaning on her family for support, especially on her sister, Karin, who encouraged her to reach out to their dad.
“I had been confiding in my sister Karin, and she was helping me decide what to do with my life. She always had been saying that my father missed me, and she said my father had offered to help,” Vonn told the New York Times in 2012.
“He’s a lawyer; he’d been through a divorce with my mom. I knew the direction I was going to follow. But I needed help. So I called him. It was a difficult first conversation, but we kind of worked past everything. He apologized. It’s going to take a long time to build a relationship back, but it’s definitely come a long way since that first call,” Vonn added.
5. He’s a Father of 5
Kildow and Lindsey’s mom, Linda, raised five children together. In 1997, Linda and Lindsey moved to Vail, Colorado, so that Lindsey could pursue a career in skiing. In 1998, Kildow’s four other children, Karin, Reed, Dylan, and Laura, moved to Vail, Colorado.
“Vail is where the world comes to enjoy a good time. I don’t think there was any sacrifice. Her brothers and sisters were all members of Ski Club Vail, one of the finest in the country. No, it was a wonderful adventure that I think everybody enjoyed,” Kildow told Sports Illustrated.
Alan and Linda Kildow ended up getting divorced in 2003.