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Let the Ladies Jump in 2010!

Let the Ladies Jump in 2010!

[ Mon, 2009-10-12 02:19 ]
Whistler Olympic Park.
Ski jumping is the last Winter Olympic sport to bar women. Why?

We don't like to get into politics around the SKI Magazine offices, especially when they involve gender differences in sports. (You may have noticed that -- ahem -- a significant majority of our editorial staff is female.) But it's always struck us as odd that women don't get to ski jump in the Olympics -- it's the only winter sport with such a restriction. Why? One of the best athletes at the sport, American Lindsey Van, holds a record at Utah's Olympic-sized hill, having jumped farther than any man there. But neither she nor any other woman will be competing at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. We think that's goofy. And we're not alone: Even the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympics has said it supports women jumpers.

Unfortunately, the International Olympic Committee does not, arguing that too few women compete in the sport to justify a female component in the Games. And it looks as if they're going to have their way. When 15 women sued the Vancouver Organizing Committee to let them jump, arguing that Canadian law prohibits such discrimination, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that Canadian law holds no sway over the IOC. That decision is now under appeal, however, and a ruling on November 12 could have unpleasant effects for the sport. If the appeals court rules in favor of the women, the IOC won't recognize the results, provide any officials, or hand out any medals, according to Dick Pound, Canada's member of the IOC. Another possibility, though slight: To avoid the discrimination issue altogether, the various powers that be might decide to ditch ski jumping altogether in 2010.

Us, we like skiing. We like skiers. We like watching people on skis, whether they're in the air or between the gates, whether it's Bode Miller or Lynsey Dyer or Lindsey Van. So in a rare departure of form, we're going to say it loud and proud: Let the ladies jump!

Ski Jumper