But as the greatest female ski racer of all time enters the final phase of her career, there is one target the 32-year-old former Olympic downhill champion has yet to achieve: competing against the men.

In the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes”, tennis star Billie Jean King easily beat Bobby Riggs in three straight sets.

When asked if she had beaten any of the men in training, Vonn told CNN in an interview at Roland Garros in Paris: “Yeah, not all of them, but a lot of them.”

“Battle of the Sexes”

Although Vonn’s request to race the men was turned down by the sport’s governing body in 2012, the American is giving it one last shot this year: not just for herself but she says also for the sake of her sport.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Vonn, who attended the French Open as an ambassador for broadcaster Eurosport.

“I just want the opportunity, I want to see exactly how I would fare. Training is one thing, but racing is quite another.”

Vonn would prefer such a race to take place during the World Cup in the Canadian resort of Lake Louise, Canada at the end of November.

Often nicknamed “Lake Lindsey” because Vonn has won 18 out of a total of 77 World Cup titles in the Alberta resort, she believes it would provide the best level playing field because both genders race on almost the same course.

Although Vonn is one of America’s best-known female athletes, ski racing is a small sport.

With the Winter Olympics taking place in February 2018 in Pyeonchang, South Korea, what better time to stage a “Battle of the Sexes” style ski race reminiscent to the match between King and Riggs that attracted a television audience of 90 million viewers worldwide and helped put women’s tennis on the map?

King's victory over Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in 1973 was watched by more than 30,000 spectactors and over 90 million on television worldwide.

“Every Olympic cycle there is definitely more excitement about ski racing,” said Vonn, who in the past has been in touch with King about staging a ski race against the men.

“And this is a time when we need to capitalize our viewership and hopefully keep more fans tuning in and watching and continue to try to get ski racing on television in the US as well, outside of the Olympics.”

In 2015, King told CNN that four decades on from her landmark match against Riggs, attitudes in tennis sometimes appeared to have barely moved an inch.

“When I played Bobby Riggs, do you realize that [former commentator] Howard Cosell talked about my looks the whole time?
“And they’re still doing the same thing. They still talk about their looks.”
Vonn says the reaction from the male ski racing community has been largely positive to her idea.

Stumbling blocks

In order to measure herself against her male competitors, Vonn will have to get over a few stumbling blocks.

In 2012, the International Ski Federation (FIS) turned down her request to race her male competitors in Lake Louise, saying “one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other” with no exceptions made.

Two weeks ago, women’s chief race director Atle Skaardal called the issue “a very difficult topic” in a statement on the FIS website following the governing body’s spring meetings.

Vonn racing at Lake Louise in 2012

Although he didn’t reject the idea outright, and said he was waiting for the US Ski Association to come up with a concrete proposal, Skaardal said it would 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,” said Skaardal, a former ski racer from Norway.

“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.”

‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘world/2017/02/18/spc-alpine-edge-world-championships-st-moritz-wrap-pkg.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘body-text_40’,adsection: ‘cnn.com_worldsport_tennis_inpage’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: {“mini”:{“height”:124,”width”:220,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170220140624-ski-world-championships-st-moritz-jump-small-169.jpg”},”xsmall”:{“height”:173,”width”:307,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170220140624-ski-world-championships-st-moritz-jump-medium-plus-169.jpg”},”small”:{“height”:259,”width”:460,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170220140624-ski-world-championships-st-moritz-jump-large-169.jpg”},”medium”:{“height”:438,”width”:780,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170220140624-ski-world-championships-st-moritz-jump-exlarge-169.jpg”},”large”:{“height”:619,”width”:1100,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170220140624-ski-world-championships-st-moritz-jump-super-169.jpg”},”full16x9″:{“height”:900,”width”:1600,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170220140624-ski-world-championships-st-moritz-jump-full-169.jpg”},”mini1x1″:{“height”:120,”width”:120,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170220140624-ski-world-championships-st-moritz-jump-small-11.jpg”}}},autoStartVideo = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [],currentVideoCollectionId = ”,isLivePlayer = false,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = ”,nextVideoUrl = ”,turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, mutePlayerEnabled);CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection(currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId);videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate(‘body-text_40’);/*** Finds the next video ID and URL in the current collection, if available.* @param currentVideoId The video that is currently playing* @param containerId The parent container Id of the video element*/function findNextVideo(currentVideoId) {var i,vidObj;if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.showEndSlateForContainer();}}}callbackObj = {onPlayerReady: function (containerId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.reportLoadTime(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleInitialExpandableVideoState(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, CNN.pageVis.isDocumentVisible());if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {var containerClassId = ‘#’ + containerId;if (jQuery(containerClassId).parents(‘.js-pg-rail-tall__head’).length) {videoPinner = new CNN.VideoPinner(containerClassId);videoPinner.init();} else {CNN.VideoPlayer.hideThumbnail(containerId);}}},/** Listen to the metadata event which fires right after the ad ends and the actual video playback begins*/onContentEntryLoad: function(containerId, playerId, contentid, isQueue) {CNN.VideoPlayer.showSpinner(containerId);},onContentMetadata: function (containerId, playerId, metadata, contentId, duration, width, height) {var endSlateLen = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0).length;CNN.VideoSourceUtils.updateSource(containerId, metadata);if (endSlateLen > 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.fetchAndShowRecommendedVideos(metadata);}},onAdPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType) {clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);if (blockId === 0) {(new Image()).src = “http://traffic.outbrain.com/network/trackpxl?advid=814&action=view”;}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, event) {var playerInstance,prevVideoId;/** When the video content starts playing, inject analytics data* for Aspen (if enabled) and the companion ad layout* (if it was set when the ad played) should switch back to* epic ad layout. onContentPlay calls updateCompanionLayout* with the ‘restoreEpicAds’ layout to make this switch*/if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreEpicAds’);}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId) || null;} else {playerInstance = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null;}prevVideoId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && (window.jsmd.v.eVar18 || window.jsmd.v.eVar4)) || ”;if (playerInstance && typeof playerInstance.reportAnalytics === ‘function’) {if (prevVideoId.length === 0 && document.referrer && document.referrer.search(//videos//) >= 0) {prevVideoId = document.referrer.replace(/^(?:http|https)://[^/]/videos/(.+.w+)(?:/video/playlists/.*)?$/, ‘/video/$1’);if (prevVideoId === document.referrer) {prevVideoId = ”;}}playerInstance.reportAnalytics(‘videoPageData’, {videoCollection: currentVideoCollectionId,videoBranding: CNN.omniture.branding_content_page,templateType: CNN.omniture.template_type,nextVideo: nextVideoId,previousVideo: prevVideoId,referrerType: ”,referrerUrl: document.referrer});}if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0);if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–active’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’);}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘removeEpicAds’);}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});/* videodemanddust is a default feature of the injector */CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);

Vonn rejected his argument.

“No man is going to want to race with the women,” she said. “It’s a fair argument, but I think it’s probably not a necessary one.

“I am sure there is a way to make an exception. I’m sure there is a way to figure out how to allow me to do it without disrupting the rights of everyone else.”

Although Vonn said she had discussed legal options with her father, who is a lawyer, she said it would probably take too long and may only be decided long after her career is over.

“If for some reason we can’t accomplish it, then an exhibition-style race would probably be the only option,” she said.

‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘sports/2017/03/20/top-5-alpine-edge-moments-2016-2017-season-mikaela-shiffrin-lindsey-vonn-spc.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘body-text_52’,adsection: ‘cnn.com_worldsport_tennis_inpage’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: {“mini”:{“height”:124,”width”:220,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170320143008-mikaela-shiffrin-overall-world-cup-small-169.jpg”},”xsmall”:{“height”:173,”width”:307,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170320143008-mikaela-shiffrin-overall-world-cup-medium-plus-169.jpg”},”small”:{“height”:259,”width”:460,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170320143008-mikaela-shiffrin-overall-world-cup-large-169.jpg”},”medium”:{“height”:438,”width”:780,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170320143008-mikaela-shiffrin-overall-world-cup-exlarge-169.jpg”},”large”:{“height”:619,”width”:1100,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170320143008-mikaela-shiffrin-overall-world-cup-super-169.jpg”},”full16x9″:{“height”:900,”width”:1600,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170320143008-mikaela-shiffrin-overall-world-cup-full-169.jpg”},”mini1x1″:{“height”:120,”width”:120,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170320143008-mikaela-shiffrin-overall-world-cup-small-11.jpg”}}},autoStartVideo = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [],currentVideoCollectionId = ”,isLivePlayer = false,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = ”,nextVideoUrl = ”,turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, mutePlayerEnabled);CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection(currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId);videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate(‘body-text_52’);/*** Finds the next video ID and URL in the current collection, if available.* @param currentVideoId The video that is currently playing* @param containerId The parent container Id of the video element*/function findNextVideo(currentVideoId) {var i,vidObj;if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.showEndSlateForContainer();}}}callbackObj = {onPlayerReady: function (containerId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.reportLoadTime(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleInitialExpandableVideoState(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, CNN.pageVis.isDocumentVisible());if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {var containerClassId = ‘#’ + containerId;if (jQuery(containerClassId).parents(‘.js-pg-rail-tall__head’).length) {videoPinner = new CNN.VideoPinner(containerClassId);videoPinner.init();} else {CNN.VideoPlayer.hideThumbnail(containerId);}}},/** Listen to the metadata event which fires right after the ad ends and the actual video playback begins*/onContentEntryLoad: function(containerId, playerId, contentid, isQueue) {CNN.VideoPlayer.showSpinner(containerId);},onContentMetadata: function (containerId, playerId, metadata, contentId, duration, width, height) {var endSlateLen = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0).length;CNN.VideoSourceUtils.updateSource(containerId, metadata);if (endSlateLen > 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.fetchAndShowRecommendedVideos(metadata);}},onAdPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType) {clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);if (blockId === 0) {(new Image()).src = “http://traffic.outbrain.com/network/trackpxl?advid=814&action=view”;}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, event) {var playerInstance,prevVideoId;/** When the video content starts playing, inject analytics data* for Aspen (if enabled) and the companion ad layout* (if it was set when the ad played) should switch back to* epic ad layout. onContentPlay calls updateCompanionLayout* with the ‘restoreEpicAds’ layout to make this switch*/if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreEpicAds’);}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId) || null;} else {playerInstance = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null;}prevVideoId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && (window.jsmd.v.eVar18 || window.jsmd.v.eVar4)) || ”;if (playerInstance && typeof playerInstance.reportAnalytics === ‘function’) {if (prevVideoId.length === 0 && document.referrer && document.referrer.search(//videos//) >= 0) {prevVideoId = document.referrer.replace(/^(?:http|https)://[^/]/videos/(.+.w+)(?:/video/playlists/.*)?$/, ‘/video/$1’);if (prevVideoId === document.referrer) {prevVideoId = ”;}}playerInstance.reportAnalytics(‘videoPageData’, {videoCollection: currentVideoCollectionId,videoBranding: CNN.omniture.branding_content_page,templateType: CNN.omniture.template_type,nextVideo: nextVideoId,previousVideo: prevVideoId,referrerType: ”,referrerUrl: document.referrer});}if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0);if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–active’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’);}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘removeEpicAds’);}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});/* videodemanddust is a default feature of the injector */CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);

Source

NO COMMENTS