Vonn wants to race against the men
The female reigning World champion, Lindsey Vonn, has asked to compete in the men's downhill in Canada in November. She has written to the International Ski Federation requesting permission. Technically there appears to be no reason why she can not.
Tuesday October 9, 2012 - Email this article to a friend
It would be a massive publicity boost for Lindsey Vonn and ski racing in general if she were allowed to compete against the men. The men are generally stronger and compete on a longer and more difficult course.
The slopes are steeper and there are more jumps. Safety is one reason that the women ski on an easier course.
However Vonn is in a league of her own as a female ski racer and is better at the speed disciplines like downhill and super G, rather than the more technical discipline of slalom.
The 27-year old has 33 World Cup victories to her name - 26 have come in the downhill.
She has won 10 times at Lake Louise and so is familiar with the slope.
She also trains with men.
Other races organised by FIS have male and female racers skiing the same course - so why not at World Cup level?
The request has come from her camp, rather than through the US Team.
"We clearly have great respect for Lindsey, her accomplishments in the sport and her desire to seek this new challenge. But we have not had any formal discussion yet between Lindsey and FIS," said a statement from the US Team. "As with any issue or opportunity, decisions we make are management decisions but include all appropriate parties."
She has spoken in the past of wanting to compete against the men and now she has made it official and has asked to race in the Lake Louise Downhill on November 24th.
She has won the overall World Cup four times and is Olympic gold medalist in the downhill.
Her request was discussed at a meeting of the International Ski Federation (FIS) last week in Switzerland. We understand no decision was reached and the matter is now being considered.
One factor that may be taken into account is that the women's downhill takes place in Lake Louise the following week and so her preparations and training for the men's event would give her an unfair advantage in the women's event.
Her competitors on the women's circuit might complain.
If she were allowed to race against the men it would create world-wide interest. Lindsey Vonn up against Bode Miller - not that would be an interesting race.
Some say though that she would be a good few seconds off the pace and would finish well down the field.
In the past she has spoken off wanting to compete with the men.
"I am just trying to push myself and push my skiing forward to where the men are," she told the Associated Press news agency last year.
"That's something that is really driving and motivating me. Everyone thinks that women can't be even in the same event as men as far as skiing goes, and I feel like I can push myself to be close and competitive with them."
We will let you know the outcome of the FIS result here on PlanetSKI. It is thought a decision will be made in two weeks.
Here she is hurtling down the Lake Louise course in 2009.
For the spirit of the mountains
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