Skip to content

Lindsey Vonn wants to take on the men in downhill

Oct 6, 2012, 4:46 PM EST

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Vancouver downhill gold medalist Lindsey Vonn has asked the International Ski Federation (FIS) for the opportunity to compete against the men at a race in Alberta, Canada next month.

“We have been talking about it but no decision has been taken yet,” said World Cup race director Atle Skaardal. “It’s matter that the FIS Council has to examine during its next meeting in November. It’s necessary to go through the rules to see if there is a way to do this, and also a reason to do it.”

Rules state that competitors aren’t allowed to test course more than a week before an event, so organizers question whether Vonn would have an advantage over the women on the same course later in the season. Vonn doesn’t seem to be looking for that advantage, but wants to boost the sport’s profile for women, according to Reuters. Experts estimate she’d finish about five seconds behind the men.

Vonn would definitely have some supporters, and a bit of history on her side. Here’s a quick look at four female athletes who famously stood up against the men and won:

Jackie Mitchell: Her appearance for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts was deemed a publicity stunt… right up until she struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, back-to-back, on only seven pitches during an exhibition game against the Yankees in 1931. Oh, and Mitchell was only 17-years-old at the time.

Babe Zaharias: After winning two golds in track at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, Zaharias turned to golf. She eventually won 41 LPGA titles and 10 majors and in 1945 started competing on the PGA tour. Babe made several cuts and finished 33rd at the Phoenix Open, but was kept out of the 1948 U.S. Open for being a lady.

Billie Jean King: She won 129 world titles, including 16 majors, and then famously went head-to-head with retired male pro Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. King beat Riggs handily to win the $100,000 prize. She also won the battle for women to receive equal pay at major events when the U.S. Open agreed in 1973.

Danica Patrick: She’s always raced men, but long faced criticism for never winning a race, despite finishing fourth at the Indy 500 during her rookie season in 2005. Patrick finally took the checkered flag at the ’08 Japan 300, then finished third at Indy in ’09. Now she looks to be the first woman to win a NASCAR race.

Latest Posts
  1. Maksim Kovtun rallies to win Trophee Bompard; Grand Prix Final picture

    Nov 22, 2014, 4:24 PM EST

    Maksim Kovtun Getty Images

    It’s unlikely a U.S. man will qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

  2. Renaud Lavillenie, Valerie Adams win IAAF Athlete of the Year awards

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST

    Renaud Lavillenie Getty Images

    This year’s winners came from unprecedented nations and events.

  3. Ashley Wagner trails, Denis Ten leads at Trophee Bompard (video)

    Nov 21, 2014, 2:24 PM EST

    Ashley Wagner AP

    Wagner could match a Michelle Kwan feat at the French event.

  4. Angelina Jolie showed Louis Zamperini scenes of ‘Unbroken’ on hospital bed

    Nov 21, 2014, 8:59 AM EST

    Angelina Jolie, Louis Zamperini AP

    “Unbroken” film about Olympian and World War II hero comes out on Christmas.

  5. Table tennis player shoves over referee after loss (video)

    Nov 20, 2014, 5:34 PM EST

    Table Tennis

    Young Dmitry Melnichenko lost the match, then lost his cool.

  6. Joss Christensen becomes ‘mountain man’ since Sochi Olympics

    Nov 20, 2014, 4:57 PM EST

    Joss Christensen Getty Images

    Olympic ski slopestyle champion uses a chainsaw every day.

  7. Louie Vito hopes to stand out after missing Olympics

    Nov 20, 2014, 3:03 PM EST

    Louie Vito Getty Images

    Vito thought he had what it took to make the Olympic team, but judges didn’t see it the same way.

  8. Claressa Shields wins first World Championships bout in 11 seconds (video)

    Nov 19, 2014, 11:30 PM EST

    Claressa Shields Getty Images

    Olympic champion could face the only woman who beat her in the quarterfinals.

  9. Mikaela Shiffrin finishes 15th, 16th in super-Gs in Colorado

    Nov 19, 2014, 8:25 PM EST

    Mikaela Shiffrin Getty Images

    “I don’t really want to race unless I have a shot at winning.”

  10. Vanessa-Mae faces retroactive Olympic ban

    Nov 19, 2014, 1:40 PM EST

    Vanessa Mae Getty Images

    Her name could be “erased from the list of participants,” IOC president said.

  11. Rio Olympics to have some morning track and field finals

    Nov 19, 2014, 11:29 AM EST

    Shalane Flanagan Getty Images

    Eight stadium events will have morning finals, a first for Olympic track and field since 1988.

  12. IOC proposes adding Olympic events, bid reforms

    Nov 18, 2014, 4:11 PM EST

    Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE

    The IOC will vote on 40 proposed changes to the Olympics in December.

  13. Ryan Lochte: I have no doubt Michael Phelps will come back

    Nov 18, 2014, 4:01 PM EST

    Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Also, Natalie Coughlin said she reached out to Phelps.

  14. Ryan Lochte unsure who is world’s best swimmer

    Nov 18, 2014, 3:52 PM EST

    Ryan Lochte, Kosuke Hagino, Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Four years ago, Michael Phelps’ coach said Lochte was the world’s best swimmer.

  15. Doha gets 2019 World Track and Field Championships over Eugene, Barcelona

    Nov 18, 2014, 9:23 AM EST

    Lamine Diack

    U.S. has never hosted the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

  16. Jennifer Kessy, Emily Day form new beach volleyball partnership

    Nov 17, 2014, 4:35 PM EST

    Jennifer Kessy Getty Images

    Olympic silver medalist’s partner in London was April Ross, who is now with Kerri Walsh Jennings.

  17. Bode Miller out until January due to back surgery

    Nov 17, 2014, 1:42 PM EST

    Bode Miller Getty Images

    Miller hopes to return one week before the one storied race he has never won.

  18. Peter Forsberg and the Olympics

    Nov 17, 2014, 1:16 PM EST

    Peter Forsberg Getty Images

    Swede being inducted into Hall of Fame authored one of the iconic Olympic moments in 1994.

Featured video

Yogging a hit at Youth Olympic Games