Lindsey Vonn, a decorated Olympic skier who previously said she wouldn’t return to competition until December, announced Thursday that she will enter the World Cup opener Saturday in Soelden, Austria. But she won’t do so without significant reservations.

Along with making sure conditions are safe – Vonn is returning from a year off from the giant slalom after suffering an arm injury – she’s not happy with the way female skiers are treated on the World Cup circuit.

“I think it’s important for women to have equal rights,” Vonn said in a video interview posted by Aftonbladet of Sweden this week. “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.”

Vonn’s comments came in response to a question about criticism she heard after she and U.S. Ski and Snowboard put forth a petition to the International Ski Federation (FIS) to allow her to enter men’s World Cup races.

Some of the strongest words came from the FIS men’s race director, Markus Waldner, who referred to Vonn in Austria’s Der Standard as a “princess who wants the spotlight” earlier this month.

The Austrian Ski Association men’s race director piled on, noting Vonn’s request to participate in a men’s World Cup race “makes us look ridiculous.”

Though disappointed by what she called “offensive comments,” Vonn won’t back down from her desire to race men, and not for the publicity.

“I have enough media,” Vonn said, perhaps referring to her time dating Tiger Woods, which earned her near-weekly headlines. “I don’t need to do this for a show. It’s just for me, for my personal ambition, because the men are the next level. I want to compare myself against them. I train with them all the time. It makes me ski better, and I want to see what it’s like to race with them in a regular World Cup competition.”

She added: “I don’t want to do some exhibition. I don’t want to do a show. I want it to be a real race. It’s pretty disappointing to hear some of the negative comments I’ve gotten, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

FIS, which denied a similar request made by Vonn in 2012, is expected to make a final decision in May.

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