In an era where men who identify as women want to compete in women’s sports — and in some cases are dominating competitions — one famous female athlete says she’s ready to compete against men. And it’s not because she wants to be a man. She simply believes she’s proven that she can give them a run for their money.
While the Winter Olympics have not always smiled favorably upon U.S. champion Lindsey Vonn — more than once we’ve seen her tumbling end over end downhill like a rag doll — she’s been an incredible force to be reckoned with in the World Cup and other major competitions. And now she believes her performance has earned her a spot in a new category.
According to the Washington Post, the International Ski Federation will take a formal look at Vonn’s proposal to allow her to enter men’s skiing races at next season’s World Cup. If they approve the proposal, they could either grant her an exception or eliminate the gender requirement for all men’s races as long as a woman can meet all the other criteria.
As for which one is more likely, Vonn said, “I would take either, but I think obviously the singular exception would be easier because then I don’t have to go and build up a whole point profile with FIS points on the men’s side. That might take me a little bit of time, but it’s not impossible.”
A similar proposal she made back in 2012 was denied before it could make it this far along in the process. Wednesday night, Vonn fired back at one of her doubters on Twitter:
This gender issue certainly differs from the debate over a female Marine who recently passed a test to become the first female infantry officer in the Corps. In Vonn’s case, she wouldn’t be leading 40 men into combat but would simply be allowed to race against a new group of competitors.
While Vonn’s proposal is likely to bring in a lot of support from fans in all walks of life, Atle Skaardal, the International Ski Federation women’s race director, has one major concern that could flip the whole debate on its head.
“It will be a very difficult challenge to find a reasonable way of doing this. Because one point that everyone is underestimating is that we need to have equal rights for everyone,” she explained. “So if the ladies are allowed to race with the men, then also the men need to be authorized to ski with the ladies. And I’m not sure this is a direction we want to go.”
If letting Vonn race with men means having to let any man race with women — just to be fair, apparently — then that certainly is a can of worms even many socially “progressive” sports fans don’t want to open because it could make feminists and fans of women’s sports upset. The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine acknowledges that the top male athletes in the world outperform the top female athletes, on average, by 10 percent.
Does Vonn think she can actually beat her male competitors if given the chance?
“I’d like to have one chance in my life to race against [men]. I’m not asking for World Cup points. I’m not asking for any of that. I just want the chance to compete,” she replied.
Vonn, age 32, is expected to retire from the sport soon. What do male skiers think about the possibility of competing against Vonn?
According to the New York Daily News, Vonn said, "All the men say, 'We don't think she's going to beat us,' which is what they're going to say, and also that, 'It will be great for our sport.’ So, what's the harm?"
Do you think this is a good idea? In other sports news, Tim Tebow just got some huge news about his career, and his fans are going to love it.