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Lindsey Kildow has a cow, and won't be giving it up for anything

Lindsey Kildow has a cow, and won’t be giving it up for anythingVAL D’ISERE, France – Organizers never expected Lindsey Kildow to keep the dairy cow she was awarded for winning a World Cup downhill race. They were wrong.

The 21-year-old American skier, who won the race Saturday, was given the toffee-colored Tarine cow by local cheese farmers.

Her win, and Caroline Lalive’s second-place finish, formed a historic 1-2 finish for the American women’s team.

”I have a pet in Europe!” said Kildow, who has won two World Cup downhills this season. ”She may not be transportable, but it’s still kind of cool.”

When the farmers gave Kildow the animal, named Olympe, they expected to be able to buy the cow back.

Instead, she returned a 1,000 euro (US$1,200) check to the cow’s owners, insisting the cow was hers and making arrangements for locals at Val d’Isere to care for the animal until it can be transported to a farm close to the U.S. team’s training base in Austria late next year.

”She’s going to join me later, sometime in October,” said Kildow, who is now heading to the Czech Republic for the next stop on the World Cup circuit. ”I’ll miss her for a while, but oh well. We’re not going to be together but hopefully she’ll be thinking about me.”

Tarines are a local breed whose milk is used to make the famous Beaufort cheese of the region.

Kildow, stroking Olympe’s head, said it was the strangest prize she had ever won.

”Last year I had a lot of top three results but we didn’t really get any prizes, just money, so this is really awesome,” Kildow said. ”She’s a little ornery, but she’s cool.”

Arpin Xavier, a representative of the Cooperative Laitiere de Haute-Tarentaise which donated the cow, was impressed that Kildow decided to keep the animal. He said it would have been much practical for the traveling ski star to take the cash.

”We were very touched that she liked it so much,” Xavier said.

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