Olympics

US Ski and Snowboard will pitch for Lindsey Vonn to race in a men’s event

FILE - In this March 14, 2017, file photo, United States' Lindsey Vonn skis during a training run for a women's World Cup downhill ski race in Aspen, Colo. In the twilight of her career, Vonn still has a list of high-priority goals to accomplish before stepping away from skiing (AP Photo/Nathan Bilow, File)
Nathan Bilow/AP

PARK CITY, Utah — At a meeting next week of the International Ski Federation, US Ski and Snowboard will make a proposal to give Lindsey Vonn a one-time opportunity to race in a men’s event next season.

“We’re not looking for a rules change or anything, but we want to provide her this opportunity. It would be in the 2018-19 season after the Olympics,” said Tom Kelly, US Ski and Snowboard’s vice president for communications.

Kelly also said he was not sure if a decision would come right away from the meeting in Zurich, but that US Ski and Snowboard wanted to get the proposal on the agenda at a formal meeting.

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“We’re leaving open some of the discussion points such as where and how it would be orchestrated, where she would start, and things like that,” Kelly said. “The important points we’re making in that is that she would indeed get a time and a result out of that, but it would not displace any of the men’s World Cup points, because we don’t want to have this one-time opportunity displace any of the points that the men would earn.”

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The topic of Vonn racing against men has been debated for some time. At least one FIS official, women’s Alpine race director Atle Skardal, has expressed opposition to it.

Travis Ganong, one of the top American downhill racers, said Vonn recently trained with the men’s team in South America and that while he welcomed her participation, he did not think she would be competitive.

“It would be great for the sport,” Ganong said.

He also proposed taking the idea further.

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“It would be really cool for the sport, as a TV event, to have [an event] open to anyone, men, women, anyone, and have a really cool event where we get to showcase our sport,” he said.

Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter @mattpep15.