An awesome fact: a woman, Lindsey Van, holds the record for the longest ski jump (between both men and women) off of Whistler, BC’s ski jump, which was built for the 2010 Olympics. Van, a 25 year old woman from Park City, Utah, trains six days a week, eleven months a year, in her discipline—and she won’t be able to compete in the ski jump in Vancouver. Why? Because she’s a woman.
From an article on Time.com, according to the International Olympics Council, the women’s ski jump “does not reach the necessary technical criteria and as such does not yet warrant a place alongside other Olympic events.” I’m sorry, What?
The article continues: “The IOC announced its original decision to exclude women jumpers from the Vancouver Olympics back in 2006. At the time, a women's world championship didn't exist yet and females had only been participating in the FIS Continental Cup — a notch below a world championship — for two years. The sport didn't have very many high-profile, FIS-sanctioned competitions, but that too may have been due to gender bias. In 2005, Gian Franco Kasper, FIS president and a member of the IOC, said that he didn't think women should ski jump because the sport ‘seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view.’ By the time women's ski jumping was included at a world championship level event in 2009, it was too late; Vancouver's Olympic event schedule was well established.”
Oh, okay. So because women were already discriminated against at other competitions, the Olympics should definitely follow suit! It only makes sense! Right. And it’s bad for their health. Despite the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any evidence backing up that claim. I like the way they’re turning it around and making it look like they have the women’s best interests in mind. Ugh.
Last year, Van and 9 other female ski jumpers sued the Vancouver Organizing Committee for violating the gender-discrimination ban in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Unfortunately, the courts ruled that, because the IOC is international, they didn’t have to obey Canada’s laws, though they were in violation of the Charter.
Apparently, after pressure from the organizing community, the IOC allowed women’s bobsled into the 2002 Salt Lake City games. And yet a court ruling can’t get ski jump in? What is it going to take?
To sign a petition encouraging the IOC to allow the Women’s Ski Jump, click here. While it may be too late for 2010, it’s not too late for 2014.
Picture of Lindsey Van via her blog at lindseyvan.wordpress.com (where she will probably have further updates about the women ski jumpers’ fight, so it’s worth following!)