Race director: Vonn cannot race Lake Louise back-to-back weeks
FIS Men's Race Director Gunter Hujara made it clear: The FIS council is open to the possibility of Lindsey Vonn racing in the men's event at Lake Louise, but she would have to skip the women's downhill races the following week.
In an interview with the New York Times over the weekend, Vonn suggested she might simply forgo the training runs at Lake Louise to even the playing field.
Hujara told Ski Racing Magazine Monday that is out of the question.
"It would be an advantage in training. If she would be allowed to race (in the men's race), she could not be allowed to race in the ladies' race a week later. That is clear," Hujara said. "And, she will lose the ladies events in Aspen, as well. This is something USSA has to answer."
Vonn previously said she would not race in the men’s downhill if prohibited from competing in the women’s races.
“There’s two downhill races and a super G, so for the downhill title, for the overall title, those are very important races for me and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that,” Vonn told the Times.
And for good reason — Vonn would be leaving as many as 400 World Cup points on the table in order to compete with the men.
That's something USSA will have to grapple with in the coming days, as the ball is officially in its court to submit a request before the FIS Council, which meets on Nov. 3-4 in Oberhofen, Switzerland. USSA has yet make a decision on whether or not it will make any such request, spokesman Tom Kelly confirmed Monday.
Vonn may have kicked out of the gate a bit early in this endeavor, herself writing a letter to FIS requesting the historic start at a venue where she has earned nine of her 26 World Cup downhill victories.
"This is something that must be done by the U.S. Ski Association (USSA)," said Hujara. "They have to come forward with a motion or request that she may start on the men's race. Until this is the case, no case is existing. An athlete is not able to directly ask on her own behalf."
On Sept. 27, Vonn took the initiative of directly contacting Hujara, who forwarded the request onto FIS President Gian Franco Kasper and to Bernhard Russi, chairman of the Alpine Committee.
"We had some discussions in the executive board," said Hujara. "This was very openly discussed, and it became clear that it goes to the [FIS] council and they deal with it.
"I have absolutely no concerns," added Hujara. "The rules do not foresee it yet, and there is no example existing yet. I told her: 'I don't see anything in the rules that would permit it, but let's check.' If the request comes from USSA, the council will deal with it."
Austrian Ski Federation President Peter Schroecksnadel sees Vonn's ambition as "a clever PR stunt" and "a good idea for the sponsor," rather than a legitimate athletic pursuit.
Schroecksnadel said implementation of the plan is unrealistic and suggested Vonn forerun a different men's downhill, saying a comparison on the Lake Louise "slider track" wouldn't be very meaningful: "If they really want to know where it stands, they would have to compete in Kitzbühel or Beaver Creek."