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Saturday November 3, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

The World Champion female racer, Lindsey Vonn, has been told she cannot compete in a men's downhill race in Canada. Race organisers said one gender can not compete in the race of another. Reaction is mixed.

The fastest woman on two skis has said she wanted to take part in the men's speed event in Lake Louise in Canada at the end of November.

It would have made a fascinating contest and we reported on her wishes earlier on PlanetSKI.

She received the backing of the US ski authorities and her request was formally sent to FIS by the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association, USSA.

The International Ski Federation, FIS, has been meeting in Switzerland this weekend and her proposal was one of the items on the agenda.

FIS has said she can not.

The FIS council met last Saturday in Oberhofen, Switzerland, and said that one gender is not allowed to participate in races of the other.

FIS said that Lindsey Vonn is welcome to submit a request to be a forerunner for the race. This means she could still ski exactly the same course and times could be compared.

"The Council respected Lindsey Vonn's proposal to participate in men's World Cup races and confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other and exceptions will not be made to the FIS Rules. In terms of her request to participate in the men's downhill in Lake Louise, she is welcome to submit a request to the Organising Committee and jury to be a forerunner," said FIS in a statement.

Forerunners test the course before races for safety and visibility.

It would give a real indication of her skills against the men and here at PlanetSKI we hope she takes up the offer.

It might be a test of her sincerity and quash peope who say the whole thing is a publicity stunt.

However it may mean her missing a women's Wolrd Cup race in the USA that takes place at the same time and it is stil not clear if it would break the rules for the women's race the following weekend in Lake Louise.

Rules state that racers can only ski on the course during official training times and going as a forerunnner the previous wekend might break that rule. 

"We're disappointed that the FIS Council did not support the proposal, but also respect its direction," said a statement from the US Ski & Snowboard Association.

The British ex-racer, Konrad Bartelski, has criticised the move by FIS. 

"Terrible decision. Would have been an interesting exercise and generated some useful publicity for a sport that needs some decent exposure," he said.

He made the comments on the Facebook page of our content editor - see here for further reaction and comments from PlanetSKI readers.

Some had accused her of a publicity stunt, others welcomed the idea and said it would give the sport a needed publicity boost.

It would have been an interesting race.

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