After achieving every goal an athlete can dream of, the American super star Lindsey Vonn is seeking new challenges. She asked to FIS the chance to compete against the boys in a downhill course within the World Cup.
The race where this challenge should take place is the Lake Louise downhill, where Lindsey obtained nine victories on twelve races run.
The FIS final decision is going to be announced on November 4th, while the race will take place twenty days later.
Certainly, It would be a great promotion for the White Circus, especially for the ladies circuit, in order to tear down gender differences, even though, at least in sports, these walls are there to protect women from a biological uneven competition and for safety reasons.
Besides, this idea involves several issues.
The men race is taking place only one week before the ladies one, so this can entail a great advantage for Lindsey in the training and in the feeling with the snow and the slope. “It is a benefit she doesn’t need to have” said her best friend and rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch, referring to the triplet Lindsey gained last year in Lake Louise.
Obviously Vonn would not win any point valid for the World Cup in the men downhill and the FIS could prevent her from racing in the ladies canadian competitions. The regulation, in fact, keeps the athletes from skiing on the race slopes the days before the race itself, in order to avoid inequitable benefits.
If this is the case, it would be like preventing her from participate in the men race, at least in Lake Louise one, but it would leave a glimmer of hope about other races in places where only men races are run.
The opinions about this matter are controversial and contrasting.
Some people, like Steve Nyman, are enthusiastic about it. For sure it is a fun and unconventional idea that can bring some verve to our sport, but there are those who think that this is an initiative better suitable to an event than to a World Cup race.
It’s true though that the agonistic level of an event it’s lower and some of the best can choose not to participate, so it is for sure less valuable, and usually in the events the chosen discipline is giant slalom, not downhill.
If the FIS is going to say yes, this challenge is going to set a precedent so every female athlete can ask to participate in any men race.
Lindsey said that her goal is to enter the top 30, but, maybe, she is hoping for something more.
It’s no coincidence that this idea came up this year, when the 16 years old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen defeated her male colleagues.
So here we are, waiting for the FIS to decide about a matter that can revolutionize the White Circus forever.