Gold medal downhill skier Lindsey Vonn is still very much interested in going head-to-head with the boys at a World Cup race in Lake Louise next month, but now the four-time champ is turning up the dial.
Vonn confessed Friday that she’d love to compete against the men on the Sterif course in Kitzbuehel, Austria, on one of the most dangerous downhill courses on the circuit, but only after she retires from the women’s circuit.
“I would have less worries about getting injured then,” Vonn told the Austria Press Agency.
And fewer concerned family members, friends, and sponsors wringing their hands while they watch. The terrifying 3.3km course has a max grade of 85 percent and has seen three male racers suffer near fatal head injuries in recent years.
First things first, though, the men’s race in Alberta: the International Ski Federation (FIS) has a rule against skiers testing out a course more than a week before competition, lest they gain an advantage, so it may restrict Vonn from running in the women’s race if they allow her to go against the men.
Vonn, who admitted she was surprised at how her pursuit “exploded” into a big story, said she won’t drop the women’s race just to prove herself against the men, “but I will keep on fighting for my goal.”
The FIS could make a final call at their council meeting Nov. 3-4 in Switzerland, but won’t even consider it until the U.S. team sends a formal request, which is still in discussion.
Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.
Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.
First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).
USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.
The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.
Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.
Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.
The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.
Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.
The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.
Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.
That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.
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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.
“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”
The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.
Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.
“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”
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