Vancouver downhill gold medalist Lindsey Vonn’s formal request to face-off against the men at a World Cup race in Lake Louise, Alberta later this month has been rejected by the International Ski Federation over the weekend, seemingly on the grounds that they just don’t like the idea very much.
“The Council respected Lindsey Vonn’s proposal to participate in men’s World Cup races and confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other and exceptions will not be made to the FIS Rules,” read a statement released by the FIS.
“In terms of her request to participate in the men’s downhill at Lake Louise, she is welcome to submit a request to the Organizing Committee and jury to be a forerunner.”
A forerunner is essentially someone who skis the course to make sure there are no problems. Their time is kept and marked, but the results are not part of the official competition and are not released to anyone but the athlete. They alone have the freedom to make it public.
Austria’s Marlies Schild set the precedent for Vonn when she skied as a forerunner at a slalom race in her home country earlier this year. Marlies would have finished in the top 30.
Similarly American gold medalist Bode Miller skied as a forerunner for a women’s race in 2003 during a rough patch when he failed to finish four out of five men’s races and was looking to get back on track.
“I saw it as a great opportunity to raise the profile of the sport by attracting interest from people who do not normally follow ski racing, particularly in North America,” Apline Canada President Max Gartner said in a statement after being disappointed by the outcome. “It would have provided a great platform to showcase our sport and the amazing athletic performances of our athletes.”
Vonn, a four-time women’s World Cup downhill champ, hasn’t released a statement regarding her feelings on the FIS’s decision or whether she’ll submit a request to be a forerunner for the Lake Louise race, but we’re certain this won’t be the last time she tries to get on the slopes with the men.
Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova will miss the Russian Championships later this month and will likely sit out this whole season but still hopes to defend her title in Pyeongchang, according to R-Sport.
Earlier this year, Sotnikova stopped preseason training due to a health issue, decided not to compete but rather perform in less-demanding ice shows this fall, according to the report, citing her manager.
Sotnikova, 20, last competed at the 2015 Russian Championships, finishing sixth and failing to make the three-woman Russian team for last season’s European and world championships.
She did not compete in major events in the 2014-15 season due to injury and in 2015-16 skated at one top-level international event, finishing third at the November 2015 Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.
In Sochi, Sotnikova became the first Olympic women’s figure skating champion without a prior Olympic or world championships individual medal.
Russian women’s figure skating has only solidified in Sotnikova’s absence since Sochi, complicating her path to making the 2018 Olympic team.
Yevgenia Medvedeva and Anna Pogorilaya were the two best female skaters this fall. Yelena Radionova and Maria Sotskova will join them in the six-skater Grand Prix Final this week.
Russia can send three women to the European Championships in January and world championships in March. The results of the Russian Championships later this month will largely determine the makeup of those teams.
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Tokyo 2020 venues for the new Olympic sports of baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.
That brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 venues to 39, with the potential for more.
The venues for new sports:
Baseball/softball — Yokohama Stadium (20 miles south of Tokyo)
Karate — Nippon Budokan
Skateboarding and Sport Climbing — Aomi Urban Sports Venue
Surfing — Tsurigasaki Beach
All of the new sports do not currently have a spot on the Olympic program beyond 2020 (baseball and softball were previously on the Olympic program before being taken off after Beijing 2008).
Agenda 2020 reforms allowed Olympic host cities to propose the addition of sports for their Games only, which is what Tokyo 2020 did to get them on the program.
The Tokyo Olympic venues are split between two zones — the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone — that are separated by the Olympic Village.
Tokyo 2020 and FIFA are still discussing the finalization of soccer venues. There are currently six, including two in Tokyo and one as far away as Sapporo (650 miles north).
Tokyo 2020 and the World Baseball Softball Confederation are still discussing the potential of adding a second baseball-softball venue in Fukushima prefecture, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima is about 150 miles north of Tokyo.
The Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants and several MLB and World Baseball Classic games, is not a 2020 Olympic venue.
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