LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA CANADA – When it comes to race and gender, the battlefield is marked with firsts from all those who chose to go against the grain. Now one woman wants to be the first to race outside her gender.
Four-time World Cup holder and Olympic gold medalist, Lindsey Vonn has asked the International Ski Federation to let her take on the men in the World Cup’s season opener in Lake Louise next month. If permitted, she would be the first woman to race against men in this event.
But, there’s one problem, and it isn’t that she’s a woman.
Article 14.2 of the World Cup rule book states that “no training shall be allowed on World Cup racecourses during the last five days prior to first-training-run or competition.” The men’s race takes place one week before the women’s race on the exact same course, so allowing her to compete in the men’s competition would give her unfair access to the course prior to competing in the women’s race.
Lindsey has said she wants to compete in both men’s and women’s races, so you see the issue. As of now, no decision has been made.
And while she may be the first woman to ski against men in a World Cup competition, she’s certainly wouldn’t be the first to compete against men on the world stage. Annika Sorenstam made history in 2003 as the first woman to play in a PGA tournament since 1945, and who can forget Danica Patrick, the first woman to win the IndyCar Series?
But the original battle of the sexes for us in Houston will always be Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome in 1973.
Guess we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled to see how this one turns out.