- Jonathon Lillis competed in his dead brother’s ski suit in the Winter Olympics freestyle aerials final on Sunday.
- Mikey Lillis died suddenly in his sleep last year. He was just 17 and also dreamed of becoming an Olympian.
- Jonathon previously paid tribute to his brother at the opening ceremony, by wearing Mikey’s ashes in a glass pendant.
Three skiing siblings all shared one clear dream.
American skier Jonathon Lillis and his two brothers, 19-year-old Chris Lillis, and 17-year-old Mikey Lillis, always wanted to compete in a Winter Olympics as a family.
But Mikey Lillis never got the chance as he died unexpectedly in his sleep in October 2017. And even though his death shattered the family, Jonathon Lillis became even more determined to keep the dream alive.
So he did two things:
First, he placed some of Mikey Lillis’ ashes inside a glass pendant and wore it around his neck during the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony on February 9.
Then, he had his late brother’s Team USA ski suit specially shipped to South Korea so he could wear it in the freestyle aerials finals on Sunday.
“It was all of our dreams to compete in the Olympics together, and knowing that he never got the chance… it felt like the best way to give him that experience,” Lillis told The Today Show.
“In the past few months, I have learned how hard life is. Sometimes life really sucks but when you are down, there are always things you are passionate about to pull yourself out of your dark moments. Aerials is that for me.”
Lillis finished seventh in the aerials finals.
Here is a photo of the Lillis brothers together:
Let's go #teamlillis fans! It is World Cup weekend here in Lake Placid, New York! The next two days are the final qualifications for the 2018 Olympics! So get loud and get proud and let's push @teamlillis2018 member Jon Lillis over the finish line! #jumpingformikey #roadtopyeongchang #laststop #lakeplacid
Chris Lillis was unable to compete in Pyeongchang has he is recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. But they both intend to represent America at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“He can compete with these guys out here,” Jonathon Lillis said of his middle brother. “Team Lillis will keep on going and in four years’ time it will be a whole different story.”