Lindsey Vonn Explains Why Women Athletes Must Break Down the Gender Barrier in Sports

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that alpine ski legend Lindsey Vonn finds inspiration in women’s tennis great Billie Jean King, who famously defeated then-retired men’s standout Bobby Riggs in 1973’s “Battle of the Sexes.” Having already amassed seven World Championship and three Olympic medals against women in her illustrious career, she now wants to compete against men.

Vonn submitted a request in 2017 to the International Ski Federation requesting permission to compete against her male counterparts.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, mostly because I train with men and it raises my level of skiing,” the Under Armour-backed athlete told FN. “Men are obviously the pinnacle of our sport — they’re faster and stronger than us. I want to see how I compare to the best in the world.”

Lindsey Vonn competes in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

Despite gender differences, the skier believes the athletic inequities between women and men aren’t vast.

“Women will inherently become closer to men as time goes on, and there are definitely women already who have enough skill and talent to compete with men,” she said.

But overcoming that obstacle won’t be easy. And Vonn believes it will take a modern-day King to do it. “We need someone to break down that [gender] barrier, and when that happens, it will be a great thing for sports in general,” Vonn said.

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