Tag Archives | Ski Jumping

Women Ski Jumpers Defy Gravity and Sexism.

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.

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Ski Jumping, Vermont Style.

Have you ever been to a ski jumping event?

Until today, my answer would’ve been “no.” But today I had the pleasure of attending the Harris Hill Ski Jump Meet, an annual occurance in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Harris Hill Ski Jump is the only 90-meter ski jump in New England and the newest Olympic size jump in the country. The Hill’s been in nearly continuous operation since 1923. Only an occasional snow drought, World War II, and a three-year hiatus to re-build the jump (2006 – 2008) have interrupted the annual tradition. It’s been the site of 18 national and regional championships, most recently in 1992 when Brattleboro hosted the National Championships.

Here’s the jump:

And here’s how you know you’re in Vermont:

The skis the jumpers use are incredibly long and wide, with free heel bindings that allow them to lean forward as they soar off the ramp.

It’s breathtaking to watch.

There were jumpers from all over the place: Steamboat, CO; Park City, UT; Lake Placid, NY. Even a few Europeans.

Although most were men, a few — six, I think — were  young women, competing in the Ladies category. Which reminded me that ski jumping is the only event in the Summer and Winter Games in which the IOC doesn’t allow women to compete.

I’ve written about this a few times in this blog, most recently here and here. I won’t go into it all again now — suffice it to say that the IOC backs up its decision with a variety of crackpot  reasons, ranging from “ski jumping is bad for women’s bodies from a medical point of view,” to “women’s ski jumping lacks universality.” But even today at Harris Hill, it was easy to see that these young women are tremendously talented athletes, and excluding them from the games is beyond belief.

That said, if you have the chance to attend a ski jumping event, by all means, go. Watching people soar off a ramp with huge boards strapped to their feet is an amazing spectacle. And Harris Hill is a great place to do it.


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Women’s Ski Jumping Takes A Fall: Part 2

There may be hope yet.

Last week a lawsuit was filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court on behalf of some of the women ski jumpers.

“Women ski jumpers meet all the technical and universality requirements,” said Deedee Corradini, Women’s Ski Jumping-USA (WSJ-USA) President. “There are certainly more than enough qualified women jumping from more than enough countries. The women are ready and we have tried to communicate that to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but to no avail. We were forced to conclude it is a matter of discrimination and decided we had no choice but to launch a lawsuit.”

The lawsuit names the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) as respondent, Corradini said. The statement of claim asks the Court to allow women’s as well as men’s ski jumping events to go ahead in Vancouver in 2010. The individual plaintiffs include six of the top 10 internationally ranked female ski jumpers in the world, including athletes from Norway, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and the United States. Marie-Pierre Morin, a retired Canadian Ski Jump National Champion and Karla Keck, a retired American National Champion are plaintiffs as well.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this. Not to allow these women to compete is beyond the beyond. Good luck, ladies! We’re rooting for you!

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

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Women’s Ski Jumping Takes A Fall.

When I first posted about women’s ski jumping almost exactly two years ago (see Jump for Joy), it seemed like its inclusion in the next Olympic games was imminent.

Boy, was I wrong!

Instead, the IOC has recently decided NOT to include Women’s Ski Jumping at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, even though in 2006, the FIS voted to add an individual event in the 2009 World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic — a necessary step to the sport attaining Olympic status.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said, “We don’t want the medals to be diluted and watered down, that is the bottom line.” He argues that the international sport only has 80 competitors worldwide, and that allowing them to participate in 2010 would dilute the value of the medals. But according to the president of Women’s Ski Jumping USA, Rogge’s numbers are wrong. She says the US has at least 150 jumpers nationwide and that Norway has between 500 and 600 female jumpers! That gives ski jumping more seasoned competitors than women’s bobsled and skeleton had when those sports were added to the Games in 2002.

You can sign a petition to help get these deserving women a chance to compete. Go here

And for more info on Women’s Ski Jumping in the US, go here.

Let the women jump!

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