USA TODAY - Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn announced Thursday over social media that she is entering the World Cup season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, effectively moving up her expected return from December to this Saturday. As long as the course and race conditions are safe, Vonn plans to ski.
Vonn, however, has issues with the way the women's World Cup circuit is showcased compared to the men's. Earlier this week, she discussed criticism she received for petitioning the International Ski Federation to allow her to compete in men's World Cup races.
“I think it’s important for women to have equal rights,” Vonn said in a video interview posted by Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, picked up by The Denver Post. “There definitely is a generalization that we are kind of second-rate on the World Cup. You know, we’re the pony show, and the men are the real race horses.”
FIS men’s race director Markus Waldner publicly called Vonn a “princess who wants the spotlight” earlier this month.
Vonn -- who is coming back from about seven months off due to an arm injury -- begins her lead-up to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics earlier than she anticipated. And it marks the earliest start to a season since a slew of injuries affected her flourishing career — most notably in the 2013 World Championships, which forced her to miss the Sochi Games.
Vonn won the same event she plans to compete in Saturday in 2011, but she hasn’t skied much giant slalom since then due to injuries.
“I didn’t race any GS last year because of my (broken) arm injury, but I skied really well this summer in New Zealand,” Vonn said on her Twitter video announcement. “I feel like I’m in good enough shape, and it’s a good opportunity."
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