Lindsey Vonn is widely regarded as one of the best women’s skiers on the planet. Now she wants to test herself against the top racers in the world, not just of her own sex.
According to Reuters’ Steve Keating (via Yahoo! Sports), the 28-year-old wants to compete against the men in the World Cup opener, in the downhill event at Lake Louise on November 24 of this year.
She has the support of Alpine Canada president Max Gartner, who told Keating:
"It would be great for the sport," Gartner said. "That is what the sport needs, stories that are bigger than the sport itself."
It would certainly propel skiing into popular discourse, bringing recognition to a sport that is considered niche at this point in time.
There are a few technicalities to overcome, as Vonn still has a desire to compete against women the following week. For one, the International Ski Federation currently doesn’t allow for racers to compete on a course a week prior to a sanctioned competition.
However, there will be meetings held by the FIS on Nov. 3 and 4, and this will certainly be a topic of debate amongst the members. They are expected to come to a consensus on whether Vonn will be allowed to participate in both events at the conclusion of the conference.
It would be wise for the FIS to allow this unprecedented move to happen in the Canadian Rockies, as the speedster has even conceded two training runs in the women’s event to appease the federation’s current policies.
Vonn is a master of the Olympic course at Lake Louise and has won 11 times since 2004—a year that she claimed her first of 53 (and counting) World Cup wins. The skier has also made it to the podium 17 times and knows the resort just as well as anyone.
Retired downhill champion John Kucera thinks this is definitely the right course for her to challenge the opposite sex in.
"Her picking Lake Louise wasn't a fluke," Kucera told Reuters. "She's well aware that it is the course she has the best chance on.
"It's longer and it's prepared a little more challenging than the women's course but all-in-all it has a lot of similarities.”
If Vonn is allowed to compete, expect her to be a serious contender in the event. She’s not taking this lightly, and neither should the men participating in the race.
We’ll keep you updated right here on B/R with breaking news, updates, opinions and analysis on Vonn’s mission to race against the men in 2012.