Skier Vonn ready to play with the boys
Lindsey Vonn wants to challenge the men’s downhill skiers in a World Cup race next month, though her wish still needs the support of the United States team and Alpine skiing’s governing body.
The U.S. ski federation said Monday that it had not had a “formal discussion” about the possibility of its star racer challenging the men Nov. 24 in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Vonn, the women’s Olympic downhill champion, has written the International Ski Federation to ask whether she can make the historic start at a venue where she has earned nine of her 26 World Cup downhill victories. The Canadian course -- often dubbed “Lake Lindsey” for her dominance there -- stages women’s races, including two downhills, the following weekend.
FIS, however, can’t make a decision on Vonn until the U.S. ski team makes a formal request to let her enter.
“There’s not anything to say until we have a proposal from the national association,” FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association would need to submit a request before the decision-making FIS Council next meets Nov. 3-4 in Oberhofen, Switzerland.
“We clearly have great respect for Lindsey, her accomplishments in the sport and her desire to seek this new challenge,” Tom Kelly, vice president of communications for the U.S.S.A., said in a statement. “But we have not had any formal discussion yet between Lindsey and FIS.”
“As with any issue or opportunity, decisions we make are management decisions but include all appropriate parties,” Kelly wrote.
One likely factor is obligations to broadcaster NBC, which committed to starting live coverage of World Cup races on its NBC Sports Network cable channel this season.