Media outlets will soon be overflowing with news from the Olympics. Personally, I am excited about watching Lindsey Vonn compete in the women’s ski racing. She is the most successful woman in World Cup history with 81 victories and is arguably one of the best skiers ever. More than her skiing prowess, I am drawn to Vonn by her desire to push the envelope and test the glass ceiling.
Vonn proposed to the International Ski Federation (FIS) that she compete against the men in a World Cup race in Lake Louise later this year. It is the second time she has asked. The FIS turned her down in 2012, citing rules that prohibit mixed-gender races. Vonn has publicly stated that she expects she would compete only averagely, so it begs the question, why bother?
Vonn’s goal isn’t about getting onto the podium. It’s about proving women’s worth in sport from both an equality standpoint and in terms of hard dollars. It is analogous to Billie Jean King and the Battle of the Sexes in 1973. That event helped pave the way but 45 years have passed and total pay still lags, although women are finally getting more opportunities to compete.