Lindsey Vonn's request to start the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill in Lake Louise was voted down by the FIS Council on Nov. 3 (Getty Images/AFP - Samuel Kubani)
OBERHOFEN, Switzerland (Nov. 3) - The International Ski Federation's FIS Council Saturday voted to not support a request by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association that would have opened the door for Lindsey Vonn to participate in a men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill. The USSA had supported the request by Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, to compete in a race at Canada's Lake Louise World Cup where she has been dominant in women's competitions. USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, a member of the FIS Council and a vice president of FIS, expressed disappointment but also acknowledged the consensus direction of the sport's governing body.
The International Ski Federation's FIS Council voted on Nov. 3 to not support Lindsey Vonn's (Vail, CO) request to participate in a men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill.
Vonn approached the International Ski Federation with the request in early October.
Following discussions between Vonn, coaches and sport leaders, 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.
The USSA request specifically asked that the FIS Council provide a clear direction on how to effectuate her goal in a manner which preserves the integrity of the Audi FIS World Cup, protects her competition eligibility, holds harmless FIS quotas and start rights, and respects the rights of all FIS athletes and FIS stakeholders.
USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt made the request in a letter to FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. Marolt is also a FIS Vice President and a member of the FIS Council.
QUOTES Bill Marolt, President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Lindsey Vonn is a great champion in our sport and we have always respected her interests in this new challenge. It's important for us to support athletes like Lindsey. She has achieved greatness from her tenacity in seeking new challenges. We're disappointed that the FIS Council did not support the proposal but also respect its direction. Now we have to keep a strong focus on the World Championships this season and the 2014 Olympics.
FIS Council Statement The Council respected Lindsey Vonn’s proposal to participate in men’s World Cup races and confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other and exceptions will not be made to the FIS Rules. In terms of her request to participate in the men’s downhill in Lake Louise, she is welcome to submit a request to the Organising Committee and jury to be a forerunner.