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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ski Jumping: No Girls Allowed

I saw this on the 6 o'clock news this evening, and it caught my eye.

Did you know that women's ski jumping is NOT an Olympic sport? it's just one of those things that I always assumed it was. But it's not. If you're a woman, and you kick ass at the ski jump, you cannot win an Olympic medal for it.

the International Olympic Committee officially rejected it as an Olympic sport back in 2006. Their arguments were that there's not very many atheletes in it, and that it really hasn't spread to a lot of countries yet. Current statistics say that there are more female atheletes in ski jumping than in any other women's sport.

Needless to say, it's not just the women ski jumpers who are getting pissed off. The Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, whom we all know as VANOC, is supportive of allowing it into the games. Daivd Emmerson, our minister in charge of the Olympics, has gone on record as saying it's disappointing that they don't allow it. but in the biggest move, a group of female ski jumpers actually filed a human rights complaint against the International Olympic Committee...they say that the IOC not making women's ski jumping an Olympic sport amounts to sexual discrimination. The Human Rights Commission is expected to hand down their ruling very soon.

For a sport to qualify as an Olympic event, it has to be approved 3 years before the games. So, it looks life women's ski jumping at Vancouver 2010 may have missed the boat. But, there are some who are optimistic that some kind of special consideration can be made and it'll be added at the last minute. If not, the fight continues to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Too bad the Olympics don't do demonstration sports anymore...making it a demonstration sport for 2010 would have been, at the very least, a goodwill gesture.

I wish I had some profound insights to share, but I don't. I've always had a soft spot for ski jumping...watching the Olympics on TV when I was a kid, the image of the skiiers taking flight is one that always stands out in my mind. When I do get to Vancouver for the 2010 games, I do hope to take in some ski jumping, and not just because it's one of the cheaper tickets.

C'mon. Let the women play. It just makes sense.

Here's the complete news article over at the CBC.

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