Next step taken toward a Vonn match against men
SOELDEN, Austria – Lindsey Vonn is one step closer to pursuing starting in the men’s Lake Louise World Cup downhill next month but the goal is still distant. According to sources within the International Ski Federation, United States Ski and Snowboard Association has sent a letter to the federation’s Sarah Lewis opening discussion on whether to grant the four time overall alpine champion the option to race.
Ultimately, the FIS Council must make the decision which it could when it meets November 3. However such a decision is highly unlikely as the letter from USSA did not arrive in Oberhofen in time to be considered for the FIS council agenda which closes approximately a week prior to the meeting. By waiting to the last minute to forward the letter simply opens the door for further discussion as there is no agenda item which requires a decision.
Technically, according to World Cup race directors, Gunther Hujara for the men, and Atle Skaardal for the women, while there is no rule against a women competing in a men’s event there is a rule regarding training/racing on a course within five days of an event. Lake Louise will host to women’s downhills within that time frame.
Vonn has repeatedly stated that if she could not race in the Lake Louise women’s downhills that she would not entertain racing against the men a week prior. Both Skaardal and Hujara confirm that should Vonn race in the men’s race she would be ineligible for the women’s downhills the following weekend.
The request has been the talk of much of the Alpine world for the last several weeks. Most fans seem anxious to see the alpine luminary compete against the men but that most likely will not happen if Vonn continues to feel that she should not give up both women’s downhill’s in Canada.
USSA spokesman Doug Haney said, "Lindsey Vonn is a great champion and the USSA supports the goals of all of our athletes. While we are not pursuing any specific proposal at this time we have begun the conversation with the FIS."