Lindsey Vonn competes in a World Cup giant slalom race last week in Austria. (Alain Grosclaude / Agence…)
A request by American women's skiing star Lindsey Vonn to compete in a men's World Cup downhill race has been rejected by the sport's governing body.
The International Skiing Federation council met Saturday in Oberhofen, Switzerland, and ruled that women are not entitled to compete against men, and vice-versa, during World Cup events.
"It's very clear," said Sarah Lewis, FIS secretary general, in an interview with the Associated Press. "It's called the men's World Cup and the ladies' World Cup. The men race the men's World Cup and the ladies race the ladies' World Cup. FIS and World Cup points are not transferable from one circuit to another.
"This decision had nothing to do with an individual. It's not personal, it's not specific to Lindsey and it's not underlying her skills," Lewis said.
Vonn, the most decorated U.S. skier in Alpine competition with four World Cup overall titles, two world championships and an Olympic gold medal, was seeking to race against men at Lake Louise in Canada on Nov. 24.
In a statement, the governing body "confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other ... exceptions will not be made to the FIS Rules."
Max Gartner, Alpine Canada president, had favored allowing Vonn to ski with the men and was not too happy with the decision.
"I saw it as a great opportunity to raise the profile of the sport by attracting interest from people who do not normally follow ski racing, particularly in North America,” Gartner said in a statement. "It would have provided a great platform to showcase our sport and the amazing athletic performances of our athletes."
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