Jaded Analysis: Vonn Damn!

Annihilate the F.I.S.

Yeah, she probably can't handle the men's course. Photo: EPIX.

Downhiller Lindsey Vonn was recently shut down by the Federation Internationale du Ski in her quest to race in a men’s DH, specifically the one at Lake Louise, where she has won the women’s race no less than seven times.

Thankfully, the F.I.S. was on the spot to protect the world from Blurred Gender Roles and the hideous specter of a lady skiing in a men’s downhill. I was shocked, simply shocked, to find out that the current President of the F.I.S. remains one Gian Franco Kasper, the very same enlightened genius who said that women (oh, sorry—ladies*) shouldn’t compete in Olympic Nordic Jumping for legitimate medical reason. Too much excitement makes them hysterical, I suppose. And then who would make Gian Franco’s sandwiches?

The F.I.S. has never had much use for women, and definitely not for women who might have the temerity to think for themselves or question The Wisdom of Authority. Imagine if a woman actually raced in—gasp!—the Men’s Race. Just think of the terrifying consequences. Society could collapse. Even more importantly, the World Cup itself might explode in a fiery conflagration. Way to go Lindsey, you self-centered bitch.

Let’s see… one of the greatest ski racers of all time, the most dominant woman in the sport, who also happens to be a rather attractive girl with a great body, wants to race, just once, in a men’s Downhill on the course she basically owns. She probably wouldn’t win, but she is legit enough to get top 20 or 30 for sure (meaning she would probably be faster than most of the male field). Now, if I was the organization in charge of growing and promoting ski racing, I’d spend every night fantasizing about a PR gold mine like that.

I mean really, what kind of creepy bastards would want to prevent a super rad hot chick from being as rad as possible? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. It’s like telling a f-ing eagle not to soar majestically, or telling me to put my pants back on at the bar.

If skiing (by which I mean “skiers”) wants to move forward, we’re going to have to boycott or annihilate the F.I.S.

You know an organization is unimaginative, authoritarian, and sexist when they can’t do the right thing for the right reasons even when it would be good for them. Personally, I am crass and sexist: I leer at women and often think of them as sex objects; I would and will happily sleep with the intern without even a fleeting pang of guilt. And yet even I am deeply ashamed and offended by the way that the F.I.S. is handling what should be a kickass historic moment. Admittedly, I don’t know jack about the World Cup. But someone who does, Canadian downhill great Todd Brooker, seems to be on the same page:

I think it’s just sad the way the bunch of old fuddy duddies who lead the F.I.S., hide behind their stupid, ancient rules to deny her request to race with the men instead of taking advantage of the momentum this great athlete has brought to the sport. I feel she has earned the right to race. The rules that the F.I.S. are hiding behind should have no bearing on allowing for this historic event to take place. They’re just being so short sighted and ignorant.

I’m a Mancuso man myself, but the fact remains that Lindsey Vonn is one of the greatest racers of all time. She’s better than all the other women on the DH course (and maybe most of the men), and she would like to compete against the best in the world. I think she’s earned it. But apparently Gian Franco and his friends at the F.I.S. know what’s best for the little lady. You just be quiet and ski now, honey.

It’s no big loss for Vonn, she’ll do just fine. But the stupidity of the decision in this case is a huge loss for skiing. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last as long as our friends at the F.I.S. are in charge.

*Anyone who has ever partied with ski racer chicks would never call them ladies. A woman who can squat 400 pounds and shin gates at 50 miles an hour is not a lady, she’s a Motherfuckin Amazon Warrior. And yet the F.I.S. doesn’t have a Motherfuckin Amazon Warrior division, or even a Women’s division. They do, however, have Ladies.

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  • http://twitter.com/dersurhodes dersurhodes

    Fantastic article. agree with the above. Let her race! and love the writing style. Hats off to ya.

  • JoeShmo

    I think the reason FIS isnt letting her race is because the womens race follows the mens WC DH in Lake Louise. Allowing her to race in the Mens division would give her extra inspection, training runs, and a race run on a course that she would then race the next week in the Womens division… effectively giving her twice as much practice on the course as every other WC woman racing. If she was willing to give up her start at the Womens Lake Louise DH, FIS might be more accommodating and let her race with the men. She should be allowed to race with the men, but she should also concede her start in the Women’s race if she chooses to race against the men.

    • Siobhan

      She has already agreed to give up her place in the women’s event for that reason.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ingrid.ctecvie Ingrid Ctecvie

        she never agreed to do this, on the contrary. she said she would forego 2 training runs to be on even ground, but she still wanted to race with the women as well.

  • AK

    Jaded 2016!

  • skiL

    JoeShmo made a good point. I know that the Austrian female athletes immediately put in a protest about Vonn racing in the men’s division precisely because of that reason.

    • Puddy Tat

      I thought it was a good point, but considering that she’s already won this race seven times, I think she already has a huge advantage in the women’s division regardless of whether she gets a few more runs the week before.

  • Bobandabby

    Jason: Do you really think that is a good idea? I love Lindsey Vonn and she is a Buck Hill gal (10k from where I grew up in Minnesota). She is a great ski racer. If you are going to mix women into men’s events then why not require them to compete with men? (that was a rhetorical question). Men have natural physical advantages in some ways and women do in others. If women were allowed to compete against men in all sports, there could be life threatening issues. If 130 pound women competed against a 130 lb men in boxing, the women might get killed. There was a lot of hubbub when Annika Sorenstam was allowed to compete against men in some PGA events and it kind of died off when she really couldn’t compete on the longer courses. So what? She is still a hall of fame golfer. It is an interesting question though.

  • nathan wallace

    I would much rather see her compete in the new super concept series sponsored by tuaca and tropic lube which has super hot racer girls trying to keep up with jaded locals in various ski towns at night.

  • Former WC DH racer

    People that think shed come in the top 30 are living in a different world, she is a good skier but no way she would be anywhere closer then 4 seconds starting number 1 and if starting 31st I’d say 5 to 6 seconds behind. That is a fact! Still would have been a great PR stunt but could have neen bad for woman ski racing if she was that far behind.

    • HerOldCoach

      I’d agree with you on any other course. She might surprise some people at Lake Louise.

  • Marc

    So then whats to stop Ted Ligety from choosing to race a woman’s GS? Where do you draw the line? LV’s desire to always be in the media spotlight is getting tiresome as is her drama, now threatening to sue the FIS. The fact she blew off the recent Levi SL to attend the Ski Team Ball and then has a “sudden” illness after the massive backlash is further evidence of this. She gave away 100 points to her nearest competitor Maria Reisch, this after throwing a tantrum in Lenzerheide after she lost the WC Overall to her by 3 points 2 years ago. Enough already.

  • HerOldCoach

    The men’s and Women’s courses at Lake Louise are virtually identical. Vonn not only dominates the women’s World Cup field on this course, but she raced it many times as a teenager on the Nor-Am circuit. It is an appropriate course for her to make the request to compete against the men. There are traditional men’s World Cup courses that are not appropriate for Vonn. Courses that she has never raced down like Kitzbuehel, Wengen, or Bormio.
    Because she has raced the course so many times in the past, she would not have an additional advantage racing with the men on the hill at Lake Louise. However, if she is willing to waive her right to start in the women’s race, FIS should let her. Her result will not count toward world rank or the World Cup overall.
    Half pipe and free riding are promotion machines. Alpine Ski Racing is really missing an opportunity with their ruling.

  • Zoran Pericic

    GET OUT AND RESIGN…… NOW!! Gian Franco Kasper… Just go home…./

    if you do not know HOW TO RESPECT THE BEST WOMEN ATHLETE OF ALL TIME…
    than, just quit and APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR own stupidity AND SHORT MIND.
    Let LIndsey ski…. EVERYBODY ELSE LOVES AND RESPECTS HER… SHE IS THE
    LEGEND….. you…. WHO ARE YOU… DAMN…/???? :(

    • SquawCraw

      “Best women (sic) athlete of all time”???
      Seriously?!? I think Lindsey is among the best women skiers of all time (though I would put Tamara and Julia up there as well), but the “best woman athlete of all time”????? Sorry, but she’s got a LONG way to go to get to that level!!
      Let’s keep a little perspective, shall we?

    • Guest

      zoran, he’s the boss of fis, so he’s entitled to decide. you can call this decision stupid or you can understand it, in any case it’s the way it is. i understand that you are disappointed as a big vonn fan, but name-calling is c

    • http://www.facebook.com/ingrid.ctecvie Ingrid Ctecvie

      zoran, he’s the boss of fis, so he’s entitled to decide. you can call this decision stupid or you can understand it, in any case it’s the way it is. i understand that you are disappointed as a big vonn fan, but name-calling is certainly not a good way. you demand respect and aren’t prepared to give respect.
      as squawcraw has already pointed out, to be the best female athlete of all time, there’s still a long way to go. she might once become the best female ski racer of all times, but there’s still some way to go too.

  • Steve K

    The F.I S. just doesn’t get it.. She is not asking to lift more weight with a stronger man, tackle a larger person, run faster or hit a ball farther. She is only asking to ski down the same course a few gates longer, that’s it. Gian Franco needs to understand that a 160 pound women and glide just as fast as a 160 man.

  • gatechaser

    FIS missed a huge media opportunity on this and its shame. But to the people that think she has a chance of being in the top 30: you are out of touch with reality. I am a world cup racer and have trained with lindsey and other women world cup winners and they get crushed (by seconds to guys not in the top 30) on easy DH in CO which is right in their wheel house. She is a great skier but it’s not realistic to think she is better then elite men. Candice Parker would not score a point on Lebron James and Serena Williams wouldn’t win a game off Federer. But they are great at their sports. It’s just not a far comparison. Let her race to get it out of her system. Plus if she’s so good and not being challenged, why not try and win more tech events? (She was more then 2 secs out first run in Soelden.)

    • SquawCraw

      Agreed 100%. Annika Sorenstam tried the same thing and she never made the “cut” in a professional, men’s tournament. But I’d still pay to see Lindsey race against ANY male ski racer in the world….appropriately handicapped of course!

  • SquawCraw

    I get where you (and Lindsey) are going with this and I applaud the effort. I for one tried to join my high school’s women’s volleyball team (fyi, I’m a big strapping male) when I was in ninth grade (we didn’t have a men’s team where I went to high school) and was totally (and wrongly, I still think) denied the chance.

    That being said….GO FOR IT Lindsey! That takes some serious “balls” and, frankly, if you have it, you have it! And Lindsey certainly “has it”! She’d probably get smoked but knowing Lindsey (or Julia Mancuso) it would be pretty darn close. Good on ya’ speed racer!

  • a;sldkjf

    fis let her race it..they said she couldnt race the womens race right after that becasue that would give her an unfair advantage in the womens race, so she decided not to race the mens..check your facts

  • JadedExpat

    I couldn’t agree more, let her ski. But calling out your own blatant Troglodite-level sexism as if, “hey at least I’m aware of it, but I only apply where I get my rocks off, but ladies should totes be able to do what men do. Hubba hubba! So that’s cool!” Does a bang up job of undermining your point. Yech. Grow up.

  • snowkicks

    I can see where FIS is coming from and I can see where Vonn is coming from.

    As a female athlete, sometimes hitting the top and being there (even in just one event) for some time, is discouraging, you want to truly see how you compare to the best, male or female; it drives you, motivates you, and pushes you further. Recently at an event, I was the only female in my division across the board….I was a bit discouraged, because a true athlete doesn’t want to win first because they showed up but because they truly earned it. To my astonishment I was thrown into the mens’ division. I had to up my game, and I won. It was amazing. For me it wasn’t about first place or any place, it was about showing I had the right to be there, about testing my own abilities.

    All it has done is motivate me to be even better. If I never compete against men again, at least I had my chance to earn the respect as an competitive athlete and show that gender is not the only determinant in athletics.

    Now, I understand the line has to be drawn somewhere. A true athlete wouldn’t want to compete in a lower/slower division because that is not what competition is about, but some low life out there would certainly abuse it. And no, I do not think that men and women should always compete against each other, but there are ways to make that sort of competition safe and functional.

    If FIS were to arrange an exposition race, where it was say the top 10 men and women, or volunteers, top 2, whatever, from downhill or other disciplines, and have a race after everything is said and done. It would give those women, who like Vonn, may want to see where they stack up against the “fastest” in the world. No one’s points or placing would have to be affected, it would be for personal satisfaction. Some of those women may surprise a lot of people or maybe they wouldn’t, the point would be to give them a real opportunity to push and prove to themselves what they are capable of. There is no harm in giving Lindsey and others this opportunity. An expo race would satiate the urge without affecting standings and would be good PR I suppose.

    If local ski clubs and other sports can have expo’s and mix genders I think FIS could arrange something.

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  • dogonfire

    She should move to the “OC” and run Powder, how many women have been editor or for that fact publisher in 40 years ?

  • S M R T

    How do you have a voice in journalism? Way to take a relevant and debatable, maybe even important, topic and belittle it with emotional, ignorant, uneducated statements. Shame on Powder for employing you and/or giving you the voice you clearly don’t deserve and further empower the FIS with. Way to go. I guess this is what you get when you don’t have to buy a subscription.

  • stoffei

    Great article there! I believe that she should get a chance to race aswell but not be in the points and be taking points away from a male racer who is trying to make a living out of it too. I am convincede that she would make it into the points but looking at sorenstam and wie to try to play on the men’s PGA tour was the same thing in green. longer thougher course and taking away a spot in the field from a male counterpart who needs every single chance to tee it up on tour make cuts and money. It’s a tough one to call but i believe that a baker should stay in his/her bakery!

  • Ptor

    Why don’t she race in a real race like the Derby de La Meije?

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