SOELDEN, Austria Awaiting approval to race against men, Lindsey Vonn says she wants to compete on the challenging Kitzbuehel downhill course after her retirement from the womens circuit.
The four-time overall World Cup champion is waiting to hear from skiings governing body about competing in the mens downhill in Lake Louise next month. Vonn said would like to race on the Streif course after ending her career, the Austria Press Agency reported last week.
I would have less worries about getting injured then, said Vonn, the Olympic downhill champion.
The 2-mile Streif downhill is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous courses with a maximum grade of 85 percent. The course has been the scene of several bad crashes in recent years, with racers Scott Macartney, Daniel Albrecht and Hans Grugger sustaining near-fatal head injuries.
Vonn, who turned 28 last week, said she will only compete with the men Nov. 24 in Lake Louise if FIS allows her to start in the womens race on the same course the following week.
If its not possible to do the womens race in Lake Louise, I am definitely not going to start in the mens race, Vonn said. But I will keep on fighting for my goal.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association needs to submit a formal request before the decision-making FIS Council next meets Nov. 3-4 in Oberhofen, Switzerland but has yet to decide whether to do so.
This is still in discussion, U.S. ski team spokesman Doug Haney said.
An FIS rule limits athletes access to extra training time on slopes close to race days.
Vonn said racing against men was a goal for me, for my life. ... I thought Lake Louise would be the best race for me because I know that course. On all other courses the men use, I would have no chance as I have never raced on them.
Vonns ambition has triggered a discussion among skiers, some favoring her request, others opposing.
I dont fear her, but I think its cool, mens overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher said. If this is what she really wants to do, then let her do it.
Felix Neureuther of Germany said Vonn should put the idea out of her head.
On the womens side, shes the absolute No. 1 in downhill and maybe the best downhill racer of all time, he said. But she should stick to what she can do best. A mens downhill is definitely a completely different story.
Vonn said she was overwhelmed by the reactions to her plan.
I was surprised how it exploded, she said. It was just the question, which steps had to be made so I could do it once. Suddenly, its a giant story.
The World Cup season starts with womens and mens giant slaloms at the Soelden glacier this weekend.