Vonn's request to ski against men to be reconsidered: federation

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Zurich (AFP)

Eight-time World Cup downhill champion Lindsey Vonn's long-held desire to race against male skiers will be reconsidered by the sport's governing body in May, the US federation calling it an ideal chance to create a showcase event to promote the sport.

In 2012 the International Ski Federation (FIS) denied Vonn's request to race against men on her favourite course, Lake Louise in Canada.

At the time the federation said that "one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other".

Vonn, who will turn 33 later this month, was forced to put that aspiration on hold as she dealt with a raft of crashes, injuries and subsequent surgery.

But after securing a record seventh world medal in St Moritz in February, those hopes were rekindled, with one eye almost certainly on the fast-approaching end of her career.

"The US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) presented a proposal to allow Lindsey Vonn to participate in a men's race in Lake Louise in November 2018," a FIS spokesperson told AFP.

"That proposal was tabled by the FIS Alpine Executive Board until its next meeting in May 2018 at which point it will be reconsidered once the current season is finished."

USSA said it was "happy with the outcome as a first step to working with FIS on a plan that would provide Vonn with the opportunity and create a showcase event to promote the sport".

"There is support for the proposal among members of the executive board, but also many points to clarify with FIS," added USSA's alpine director Patrick Riml.

"We're encouraged by the discussion and the fact that we now have a formal proposal in front of FIS which we can review with FIS in more detail during the season ahead."

USSA had submitted the proposal as a "one-time exception for Vonn", the 2010 Olympic downhill gold medallist who has won an unprecedented 77 races on the women's World Cup circuit and is closing in on the men's mark of 86 held by retired Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.

"The proposal will be discussed with FIS officials during the season and will come back up again when the organisation meets mid-May for its biennial FIS Congress in Greece," USSA confirmed.

The US ski team expressed their support for Vonn, tweeting: "@lindseyvonn wants to race the men... and we're behind her every step of the way. #girlpower."