Oct 6, 2012, 4:46 PM EDT
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.
Mar 11, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT
Women train where “a few yellow lamps light up a cavernous, sparsely furnished room.”
Mar 11, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
Americans’ long winning streak snapped.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT
Two Olympians and several Olympic sports athletes among 19 nominees.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:11 AM EDT
Double amputee has pleaded not guilty to gun charges.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT
Olympic gymnast married longtime boyfriend.
Mar 11, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT
Two cases of White House-brewed beer in Canadian hands now.
Mar 11, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT
U.S. still looking for first gold medal.
Mar 10, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT
The 26.2-mile race is April 21.
Mar 10, 2014, 11:08 AM EDT
Hockey Hall of Fame already has Olympic display with Teemu Selanne’s socks.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT
Pathologist details graphic nature of Steenkamp’s bullet wounds.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:14 AM EDT
Two U.S. skiers claim bronze. Two others hospitalized after crashes.
Mar 10, 2014, 6:24 AM EDT
“Kim’s last appearances on ice as a figure skater.”
Mar 10, 2014, 5:15 AM EDT
U.S. Paralympic medalists flown to hospital.
Mar 10, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT
Alpine skiing highlights Monday action from Sochi.
Mar 9, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT
U.S. wins gold and total medal counts for fourth straight World Indoors.
Mar 9, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT
Tyler Walker cartwheeled several times but joked on social media.
Mar 9, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT
Americans put Olympic struggles behind them.
Mar 9, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT
Tatyana McFadden made her Winter Paralympic debut.
Mar 9, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT
Races for World Cup slalom, overall titles tighten considerably.
Mar 9, 2014, 12:30 AM EDT
Cross-country skiing on tap for Sunday in Sochi.
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