Lindsey Vonn‘s reported goal is to finish in the top 30 of a men’s World Cup race, should she get the opportunity before her expected retirement in two years.
“I think that would be doable,” Vonn said, according to a Ski Racing magazine article published Tuesday. “In men’s races, they’re so tight there’s usually only a second and a half to 30th, especially in Lake Louise where it’s an easier track for them.”
Vonn petitioned the International Ski Federation (FIS) both in 2012 and this year (and perhaps instances in between) to be allowed to enter a men’s race at her favorite venue — Lake Louise, Alberta, which traditionally hosts men’s speed races in late November and women’s speed races the following weekend.
So far, her bids have been denied by FIS, but her (and the U.S. Ski Team’s) case is slated to be discussed again in October. FIS said in 2012 “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”
Vonn has won 18 times in 41 career World Cup starts at Lake Louise and eyes a men’s race there in November 2018 in what could be her final season of racing.
“There are some commentators who think that I would be far outside of the men,” Vonn said in 2012, according to The New York Times. “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I’d like the chance to compete against them and see where I stand. I’d definitely like to be inside the points, in the top 30.”
Vonn was quoted in Tuesday’s Ski Racing story saying that she sometimes beat male Norwegian downhill star Aksel Lund Svindal in training five or six years ago.
Svindal, the pre-eminent men’s speed racer over the last decade, has publicly backed Vonn’s bid for years.
“My experience is if you are on a hill that she likes, and you don’t ski good, she can beat you,” Svindal said in 2012, at the height of Vonn’s dominance, according to the Canadian Press. “It’s realistic that she would be in the race.
“I say let her race. To get America more involved in skiing would be good for us. From a marketing point of view, it seems very strange to just cut it off like that and say ’not possible.’
“If I was FIS, I would keep that door open. Those are the kind of stories that are bigger than the sport and the kind of stories that would be popular in America.”
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