Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7:48 AM

Lindsey Vonn Wants to Ski against Men…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Frankly, this is arrogant and disrespectful (to both men and women skiers).

Downhill Skiing ranks among my favorite spectator sports – right behind Swimming and Track and Field. This is why I am so dismayed by the farce Lindsey Vonn is trying to make of this sport.

The 33-year-old, the most successful woman in World Cup history with 77 victories, is still hopeful that her sport’s governing body, the International Ski Federation (FIS), will allow her to race in a men’s World Cup downhill race next year. …

‘FIS are coming around to the idea, I’ve had more positive feedback than I’ve had in the past so I’m going to keep working on it and, hopefully, I can get it done.’

(CNN, November 1, 2017)

Mind you, it would be one thing if Vonn were as dominant when skiing downhill as Katie Ledecky is when swimming long distances against women. But she is far from it. What’s more, the women she’s competing against at this weekend’s World Cup races in Lake Louise, Alberta, will undoubtedly reinforce this fact.

This is why her petition to compete against men is both arrogant and disrespectful:

  • arrogant because it presumes an ability to compete at a level that is plainly beyond her reach; and
  • disrespectful because on the one hand it reduces the men’s competition to nothing more than a foil for her publicity stunt, while on the other hand it casts the women’s competition as not being challenging enough for her.

As it happens, we’ve been treated to this kind of sporting stunt before – and I’m not talking about the famous Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

A decade ago, Michelle Wie was a sure thing: only 16 and a new pro but not yet an LPGA member, the lanky long hitter from Hawaii had six top-five finishes in eight tour starts. …

After that, the expectation – and pressure – was off the charts. It is easy now to look back and say her development might have been better served if she had focused on winning against girls her own age instead of trying to make the cut against men, a quest she abandoned in 2008.

(Golf Digest, July 5, 2016)

Apropos of the then 29-year-old Billie Jean King’s trailblazing stunt, bear in mind that Riggs was a 55-year old who was not even ranked in the top 1000 among men Tennis players. A fair analogy would have Vonn competing against a group of random middle-aged men at a ski resort in Vail, Colorado.

I respectfully submit that, if she’s determined to compete against men, doing so for exhibition at such a resort would be more appropriate.

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*This commentary was originally published yesterday, Thursday, at 1:36 pm

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