When Jacqueline Wiles was struggling financially during the 2015-16 season, Lindsey Vonn stepped up.
“She helped pay for my season so that I could continue pursuing my dreams,” Wiles said.
In return, Wiles became the first-ever ambassador for the Lindsey Vonn Foundation, which supports girls through scholarships, education and athletics. Wiles agreed to wear the Foundation’s logo on her helmet, as well as serve as a mentor for its programs.
“I really want to help empower girls, and really it has nothing to do with sports,” Wiles said. “It just has to do with trying to help young girls be confident and believe in themselves.”
Skiers below the “A” team level, who are not fully funded, often have to get creative to cover travel costs of up to $35,000 per season. A group of entrepreneurial U.S. skiers, including Wiles, produced a nude calendar in 2017:
Beyond financial support, Vonn, 33, often provides skiing advice to Wiles, 25.
“Lindsey has taken me under her wing and been an amazing mentor,” Wiles said.
Vonn is proud that she is able to help Wiles follow her dreams.
“I’m really lucky that I have such a great teammate as Jackie Wiles,” Vonn said to U.S. Ski.
Vonn’s investment in Wiles has been fruitful.
Wiles earned her first World Cup podium on Jan. 15, 2017. Vonn, who placed 13th in that race, posted an Instagram photo congratulating her mentee:
The second time Wiles finished on a World Cup podium, on Jan. 20, 2018, she stood next to Vonn, who won the race.
“It proved that all my hard work was paying off,” Wiles said. “And that I did have what it takes to make it to the next level.”