American star Lindsey Vonn will not be able to compete against men until next year at the earliest after the International Ski Federation (FIS) put a proposal from United States Ski and Snowboard on hold.
The FIS had initially said the proposal was for Vonn to race alongside men at a World Cup event in Lake Louise in Canada next month.
US Ski and Snowboard have claimed they had put forward the 2018 to 2019 season for the 32-year-old to be allowed to compete against her male counterparts.
The issue was discussed at the FIS Alpine Executive Board meeting in Zurich yesterday, where it was agreed to revisit the motion at their next meeting in Greece in May.
Further deliberation on the topic is now likely to take place over the winter season.
Although the FIS did not grant Vonn, who holds the record for World Cup victories with 77, the chance to race against men in a downhill event in Lake Louise, the decision from the FIS still represents a small step forward for the athlete and the governing body.
US Ski and Snowboard Alpine Director Patrick Riml claimed there was support for the proposal among some members but admitted there were still points that needed to be clarified with the FIS.
“We’re encouraged by the discussion and the fact that we now have a formal proposal in front of FIS which we can review with FIS in more detail during the season ahead,” he said.
Vonn, who won the women’s downhill gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, previously had a similar attempt rejected by the FIS in 2012 after world skiing’s governing body stated “one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other”.
Her chances were dealt another blow earlier this year when FIS women’s race director Atle Skaardal told the Denver Post that women competing against men was a “meaningless comparison” and “has nothing to do with competition”.
US Ski and Snowboard claim, however, that the move would “provide Vonn with the opportunity and create a showcase event to promote the sport”.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.