Next week, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, America’s snowsports governing body, will make an appeal to the International Ski Federation (FIS) for World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn to race against the men. The entity will push to allow Vonn into the World Cup event at Lake Louise during the 2018-2019 season as, according to ESPN, this venue makes the most sense because both the women and men will compete in races at the same time there.
FIS head Atle Skaardal expressed doubt about the liklihood of such a marketing boon actually occuring. “It will be a very difficult challenge to find a reasonable way of doing this,” he said, adding that he thinks it’s about equal rights. “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. It’s a difficult topic.”
Vonn is training for the games in South Korea this winter and is certainly worthy of such a consideration. The former Olympic downhill champion is just nine World Cup victories shy of the overall victory mark for men or women of 86, set by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.
There are obvious problems with such an event, starting with the technical–where do the points go if she places in the top 30– to the physical, what happens if the soon-to-be 33-year-old is injured (which has happened a lot for Vonn over the course of her incredible career)?
But it’s a something the four-time World Cup champ whose won events in all five racing disciplines wants to do before she retires: “It’s going to be definitely a hard thing to get done with all the ski federations and everything involved, but that’s my goal,” she said on Abby Wambach’s podcast last year.
With this latest news, it seems that U.S. Ski and Snowboard thinks there’s at least a snowball’s chance it could happen.