Lindsey Vonn, the winningest woman in the history of ski racing, has never been shy about her desire to compete against men — saying in 2016 she could definitely “beat some boys” and continually lobbying for a bid to enter the men’s World Cup race in November 2018.
But International Ski Federation women’s race director Atle Skaardal said it’s a tricky topic.
“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 said Sunday in a statement. “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. I see it as a very difficult topic. …I’m confident that everyone will think this through.”
The International Ski Federation, which discussed Vonn’s status in May meetings and plans to make a final decision in October, denied Vonn’s request in 2012 to compete against men because “one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”
Vonn plans to retire in 2018-19 and would like to compete against men before ending her career.
“I know I’m not going to win, but I would like to at least have the opportunity to try,” Vonn told the Denver Post earlier this year. “I think I’ve won enough (women’s) World Cups where I should have enough respect within the industry to be able to have that opportunity.”