Why Lindsay Vonn still wants to race men

Lindsay Vonn clinched her second victory in four races in a women's downhill on Saturday to move within sight of the all-time record of World Cup wins.

(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Skier Lindsay Vonn attends the 2013 Delete Blood Cancer Gala on May 1, 2013 in New York.

Lindsey Vonn, back in winning form after a one-year injury break, said she was still intent on one day competing with the men.

One victory short of becoming the most successful female skier in history, the American said she had not given up on the suggestion she made two years ago of racing against the men in Lake Louise, a course on which she has won 15 World Cup races.

"Not with my condition right now. But in places where it's relevant, like Lake Louise, sure, I'd like to compete with the men. But first I need to get back to the level of condition and confidence required for such a challenge," she told reporters after her downhill victory in Val d'Isere on Saturday.

Vonn had asked permission to race against men in Lake Louise in November, 2012, on a course used by both genders on the World Cup circuit.

But the International Ski Federation (FIS) turned down the proposal, saying that "one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other." 

Why does she want to compete against men? "It's not like I'm getting 20th every day and saying I want to race the men," Vonn told reporters in Canada in 2012. "I try to let my skiing speak for itself.

"I don't know exactly where I'd stack up, but that's kind of the whole point, to see where I stand and see how much farther I can push my skiing because the men, they're skiing is the best in the world hands down. That's where I want to get my skiing to be."

 Vonn's stunning revival continued when she clinched her second victory in four races in a women's downhill on Saturday to move within sight of the all-time record of World Cup wins.

Back in action two weeks ago in Lake Louise after a one-year break and two knee operations, the four-times World Cup winner stunned won her second race, a downhill in Lake Louise, before finishing second in a Super-G.

Her rivals were warned but could hardly do a thing when the former Olympic and world champion skied an almost immaculate run in Val D'Isere to clinch her 61st World Cup victory in one minute 44.47 seconds.

Vonn is only one win short of the 62 mark held by Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell and she could equal it in Sunday's Super-G on the same Oreiller-Killy course.

"Before talking about the record, let me first beat it. I've talked about it for so long I have the impression that the more I talk about it the further it gets," the 30-year-old American told reporters.

The podium was a prestigious one with 2011 downhill and Super-G world champion Elizabeth Goergl of Austria and 2010 Olympic giant slalom champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany tied for second place, 0.19 seconds behind Vonn.

Her victorious return in Lake Louise was spectacular but was undermined by the fact that the Canadian course is considered Vonn's backyard after she won 15 World Cup races there.

"In Lake Louise, I won so many times that some people automatically assume that I should win there. But it's never easy to win in any World Cup race," she said.

The day was also a special one for Goergl, who had two up-and-down seasons since her double world title in 2011, and for Rebensburg, who had never made it on to a downhill podium before.

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud collected his fourth victory of the season in the men's Super-G in Val Gardena, Italy to take his overall lead in the World Cup standings to 152 points over Austrian holder Marcel Hrischer.

Jansrud won in 1:33.87 ahead of Italy's Dominik Paris and Austria's Hannes Reichelt for his sixth podium in six speed events.

The men's program continues with a giant slalom in Alta Badia on Sunday. (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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