Lindsey Vonn wants to race against men at Lake Louise
Dominant alpine skier will likely face resistance from FIS
The most successful female World Cup racer in history is hoping to get a shot at competing against the top men's downhill skiers at Lake Louise in November 2018.
With the support of the U.S. ski team, Lindsey Vonn plans to make a proposal to the International Ski Federation to allow her to race in her best event at the iconic Canadian venue, according to the Denver Post.
"I know I'm not going to win, but I would like to at least have the opportunity to try," Vonn told the newspaper. "I think I've won enough World Cups where I should have enough respect within the industry to be able to have that opportunity."
It will likely be an uphill battle to sway the FIS, which already denied the same request in 2012.
"I just don't see the interest. For me it's a meaningless comparison. It doesn't matter if she's one second behind or a half-second ahead. We compete female against female and men against men," FIS women's race director Atle Skaardal said, according to the Denver Post. "To me it doesn't matter if one gender is faster or slower. It doesn't mean it's a good idea, just because it's of interest to one racer. I haven't heard of any other sport being dragged into this kind of position."
Vonn has a strong record of success at Lake Louise, where the men's and women's downhill races are done on essentially the same course. Of her 38 World Cup downhill titles, 14 were won on the Alberta course. She has won 76 World Cup races overall.
The 32-year-old competed for the first time in nearly a year over the weekend, racing to a 13th-place result at a World Cup event in Austria 11 months after fracturing her right arm.
Vonn would consider putting off retirement if she was able to compete with the men, but Skaardal's comments make it seem like an unlikely prospect.
"It's definitely frustrating to hear that he said that, because I respect Atle very much," Vonn said. "He does a great job on the World Cup, and he is a former racer, so he understands. It's disappointing to hear he doesn't support it. But maybe if we organize something and a plan is put in front of him, maybe he would change his mind. I think most of the men are supporting me."
Vonn will turn her immediate focus towards preparation for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.