Got ten minutes?
Good. If you don’t, though, set this aside for when you do. It’s that worthwhile.
A bit of background: Until recently, women’s ski jumping wasn’t allowed in the Winter Olympic Games. You read that right: men’s teams, yes; women’s teams, no. In fact, ski jumping and nordic combined, which includes ski jumping, were the only sports in the Winter or Summer Games that did not offer events for women. The IOC twice rejected women’s ski jumping for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, saying the sport lacked enough elite competitors and its inclusion would dilute the value of the medals. But this was totally bogus. Because although IOC President Jacques Rogge argued that the sport only had 80 competitors worldwide, Women’s Ski Jumping USA said the US had at least 150 jumpers and Norway, between 500 and 600. This gave ski jumping more seasoned competitors than women’s bobsled and skeleton had when those sports were added to the Games in 2002.
But there’s a happy ending. In April, 2011, the fight finally paid off. Women ski jumping will be included in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
In the video here, first aired on NBC’s Rock Center, Lindsey Van (no, not Lindsey Vonn) — the very first women’s world champion — and others talk about the spirit of sexism that long kept women from competing in the Olympics, and the grit it took to get the IOC decision overturned. It’s an eye-opener, that’s for sure.
Yes, there’s an ad first. But hang in there. And prepare to be inspired.