Lindsey Vonn’s proposal to race men to be heard

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A proposal for Lindsey Vonn to race men will be formally put forward for the first time by U.S. Ski and Snowboard at International Ski Federation (FIS) meetings next week.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard proposal is for Vonn to be able to race any World Cup downhill during the 2018-19 season, possibly Vonn’s last before retirement.

It’s unknown if FIS will decide on the proposal when it is heard in Zurich on Oct. 5.

“Further details are still unknown, but this is certainly an anticipated topic that divides the FIS officials,” the organization said in a press release Wednesday.

Vonn prefers the venue to be Lake Louise, where she has won 18 times in 41 career World Cup starts.

If Vonn were to race men and finish in the top 30, which is reportedly her goal, she would not displace a men’s skier from earning World Cup points, the USSA proposal says.

It’s believed that a woman has never competed in a men’s World Cup Alpine skiing race. It’s unknown if a woman has ever competed in a men’s event in any FIS competition, in any sport at any level.

Vonn petitioned the International Ski Federation (FIS) both in 2012 and this year (and perhaps instances in between) to race men in Lake Louise, which traditionally hosts men’s speed races in late November and women’s speed races the following weekend.

The bids have been denied so far.

FIS said in 2012 “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”

After FIS discussed the topic in May, FIS women’s race director Atle Skaardal said that if Vonn is allowed to enter a men’s race, then men must be allowed to ski with women.

“It will be a very difficult challenge to find a reasonable way of doing this because one point that everyone is underestimating is that we need to have equal rights for everyone,” Skaardal, a 1996 and 1997 World super-G champion for Norway, said in a press release. “So if the ladies are allowed to race with the men, then also the men need to be authorized to ski with the ladies, and I’m not sure this is a direction we want to go.”

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