If you are a sport ignoramus, like me, it may come as a surprise to you that female ski-jumpers are not currently allowed to participate in the Olympics.
However, it looks like pressure is building to end this discrimination, as the Canadian federal government has just agreed to fully support their athletes in their battle to gain the right to compete.
Of course, this was only after a group of ski jumpers lodged a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission over the construction of a $120 million Olympic Park in Vancouver for the 2010 winter games, arguing that it would break the law to spend public money on a building that discriminates.
Unfortunately, the International Olympic Committee remains to be convinced. CTV.com reports:
The IOC claims the female side of the sport still needs development and falls short of basic standards for inclusion at the Games. The committee, therefore, voted against including women ski jumping in 2010…
Ski jumping and a related Nordic-combined event remain the only events in which women are not allowed to participate.
This despite the International Ski Federation’s approval of women’s jumping for international competition by a 114 to 1 margin in 2006 — and its request to the IOC to follow suit.
On Saturday, 2010 Olympics Minister David Emerson said it wasn’t right “to not have women (be) able to participate on the same basis as men.”
The Olympic charter states that the events must be determined no later than three years before the Games — but it leaves an opening for the deadline to be annulled with approval from the sport’s international federation, the Olympics organizing committee and the IOC.
Photo from Women’s Ski Jumping USA