The 2010 Winter Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn, who holds the record for most wins by any female skier ever, has expressed a desire to race with men at any World Cup event during the 2018-19 season.
American Vonn says she wants to compete against men because she wants to be “pushed to the maximum.”
“It’s something that I want to do for me. If I can train with them and be at the same level, why can’t I race with them?” Vonn said in an interview with People magazine.
“I’ve won all these races on the women’s side, why can’t I go to the next level? The men’s team is the next level, that’s a fact. I want to be in a place where I’m pushed to literally my maximum.”
The International Skiing Federation (FIS) will consider a proposal initiated by the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) about Vonn’s possible entry into the men’s downhill event at the 2018 World Cup Alpine race.
The question is expected to be discussed at the FIS pre-season meetings in Zurich on October 3 and 4.
This is not Vonn’s first attempt to join a men’s downhill competition. In 2012, she asked the FIS for permission to grant her a place in the men’s field of the alpine skiing program but her request was rejected. Officials insisted in a statement that “one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”
However, the 2010 Vancouver gold medalist has been persistent in her push to compete alongside men.
The race could possibly take place at Vonn’s favorite venue – Lake Louise, in the Canadian Rockies – where she has claimed 13 World Cup victories.
But even if Vonn were to race with men and finish inside the top 30, which is reportedly her goal, she would not displace a men’s skier from earning World Cup points, thereby not interfering in the fierce men’s battle.
FIS women’s race director Atle Skaardal stands against Vonn’s idea of skiing in the men’s downhill, insisting that if Vonn is allowed to enter a men’s race, then men must be allowed to ski with women.
The 32-year old American skier, who dominated the women’s downhill final in Vancouver was not able to defend her Olympic crown in Sochi due to a serious knee injury that kept her out of the 2014 Winter Games.
Despite retirement rumours, Vonn has fully concentrated on preparation for the upcoming Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, where she hopes to extend her collection of Olympic trophies.
During her glittering skiing career, Vonn has claimed 77 World cup victories, taken 2 world titles as well as her Olympic gold in Vancouver.