Lindsey Vonn was asked about Trump and the Olympics. Her answer nailed it.
Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images.

When U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn is racing down snowy South Korean mountains in February, you can bet President Donald Trump will be the last person on her mind.

Ahead of the Winter Games this year in Pyeongchang, the 33-year-old gold medalist sat down with CNN's Christina MacFarlane to chat about competing once again for Team USA and the possibility of winning her second gold medal.


Vonn at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Photo by Francis Bompard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images.

But the topic veered away from sports at one point and, as conversations often do these days, turned to Trump.

"You previously competed at three Olympic games under two presidents," MacFarlane asked. "How will it feel competing at an Olympic games for a United States whose president is Donald Trump?”

“Well, I hope to represent the people of the United States — not the president," Vonn said, her tone clearly reflecting strong disapproval of Trump.

"I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremonies," she continued. "I want to represent our country well, and I don't think there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that," she concluded.

Vonn's patriotism and fervent opposition to Trumpism come at a remarkable moment in presidential history.

Unlike his recent predecessors, Trump has intentionally waded into controversy, capitalizing on cultural wars by attacking black and brown professional athletes who've protested during the national anthem at their games. Contrary to the president's claims, the players aren't protesting the flag, military, or anthem itself but rather using the moment to peacefully draw attention to racial inequality in our criminal justice system — namely, police brutality.

As a prolific American athlete, Vonn's disapproval of Trump coinciding with her patriotism — which is focused on the people of the U.S. and not its leader — shouldn't be overlooked.

When asked by CNN if she'd accept an invitation to the White House by the Trump administration, Vonn quickly responded, "Absolutely not."

True

When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

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