Female ski jumpers demand Olympics inclusion
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Sunday, January 6, 2008 12:16AM EST
A group of women's ski jumpers are outraged their sport will not be included in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Led by former mayor of Salt Lake City and president of Women's Ski Jumping USA Deedee Corradini, the athletes say failing to allow a women's ski jump event at the Games is more than just unfair -- it's a human rights issue.
The group is holding a media conference at Whister's brand new Olympic ski centre on Saturday to demand the inclusion of the sport in the upcoming Games.
Ski jumping and a related Nordic-combined event remain the only ones where women are not allowed to participate. Corradini, who helped secure the Olympic bid in Salt Lake City, says the exclusion of women ski jumpers is gender discrimination that goes against Canadian law.
"It is against Canadian Federal and Provincial law to spend public funds on facilities (i.e. ski jumps) that discriminate," said a press release from her association in advance of the media conference.
"The Whistler Olympic Park venue can accommodate the... individual competition recommended by the (International Ski Federation) without any additional capital expenditure."
The International Ski Federation approved women's jumping for international competition by a 114 to 1 margin in 2006 and asked the International Olympics Committee to follow suit.
However, the IOC still sees it as a sport in development, even though 135 women from 16 countries competed internationally in ski jump events in the 2006/2007 season.
"There's always been some level of resistance on the part of the IOC to include a sport on the Olympic platform before it's really well established," the IOC's Dick Pound told CTV News from Montreal.
Even if the IOC were to change its mind, time is ticking to include it on the 2010 roster.
The Olympic charter states that the events must be determined no later than three years before the Games, but it leaves an opening for the deadline to be annulled with approval from the sport's international federation, the Olympics organizing committee and the IOC.
With the recent opening of the new Whistler Olympic Park, members of Canada's highly ranked women's ski jumping team were among the first to try out the new jumps in the Callaghan Valley. For many, however, it also served to rub what they see as a rights issue directly in their faces.
"Coming here is so exciting and it's so much fun," Canadian ski jumper Zona Lynch told CTV's Mike Killeen last Friday. "Then you're going up the chairlift and in the back of your mind you're like, 'I'm not going to be here for the Olympics. This sucks.'"