LONDON - Lindsey Vonn moved a step closer to her goal of racing against men Tuesday as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association wrote to the sport's ruling body asking it to consider the request.
Olympic downhill champion Vonn approached the International Ski Federation (FIS) in early October with the request to compete in a men's World Cup downhill on Nov. 24 in Lake Louise, Alberta. Vonn, the most successful ski racer of her generation with 53 World Cup wins, has won the women's race there nine times.
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In a letter to FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association "petitioned the FIS Council to consider her request to ski a men's race at some point in her career," USSA said in a statement on its website Tuesday.
The council is scheduled to meet on Nov. 3 in Switzerland.
"Lindsey Vonn achieved great success in sport due to her continual quest for new challenges in alpine ski racing," said USSA President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Marolt, who is also a FIS vice president and a member of its council.
"As a national ski association within FIS, we have the highest respect for Lindsey's accomplishments and appreciate the opportunity to support Lindsey by engaging in this discussion with FIS," Marolt added.
"Everything is completely open," Kasper said in an interview on Oct. 26 in Soelden, Austria at the start of the alpine World Cup season. "But I am not very optimistic."
FIS women's race director Atle Skaardal told reporters in Zurich this month that Vonn's request was "complicated" because the women's event at Lake Louise takes place a week after the men's. Under the world body's rules, no one can ski on a race course a week prior to competition.
Colorado resident Vonn last week said in an interview, also in Soelden, that she'd made the request to test herself against the men because she beats them in training and wants "to try to push the limit."
She said she'd try to race men next year, should her request be turned down for this season.