Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Dark Ages

I'm sad, so very sad today. I just found out that the IOC has voted NOT to allow a women's ski jumping event in the 2010 Olympics. The reasononing and "logic" reeks of sexism and politics. When did we lose our focus? Why was this decision not based on the athletes and their ability to perform?

Here is the press release out of Salt Lake:


International Olympic Committee Ruling appears to be out of the “Dark Ages” according to Former Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini

“The recent IOC decision to block women ski jumpers from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics is blatant discrimination and a stunning move that harkens back to the Dark Ages,” according to Deedee Corradini, the former Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah and President of Women’s Ski Jumping USA.

The Olympic Charter’s mission is to “encourage support and promotion of women in sport at all levels and structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women,” said Corradini. “By denying women ski jumpers the right to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics, the IOC is exhibiting the most clear-cut case of discrimination of women in the Olympics since the reluctance to add women’s marathon in the early 1980’s.”

The world’s second ranked women’s ski jumper, Anette Sagen of Norway, said "I am truly disappointed by the IOC. Worldwide, people are working for equality for women, but the IOC has failed to do that. They have a double standard when it comes to women's ski jumping."

In May 2006, the International Ski Federation (FIS), the governing body for ski jumping, voted 114 to 1 that the women ski jumpers are qualified to compete. Subsequently, they formally requested the IOC add women’s ski jumping to the 2010 Olympics. In addition, the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) and the Canadian Olympic Committee also sent requests to the IOC for inclusion.

"The ladies are ready to compete in the Olympics,” said Fabien Ebenhoch, coach of the Italian Women’s Ski Jumping team and former Austrian coach. “The World Jr. Championships were on a bigger hill than would be used in the Olympics, and the juniors have already done in 2006 what the seniors can do in 2010."

Last year, Influential IOC member and FIS President Gian Franco Kasper told National Public Radio that ski jumping “seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view.”

According to the IOC, there are not enough nations and participants to justify addition of the event. However, since 1995 women ski jumpers from over a dozen nations on three continents have been competing on a women’s elite competition circuit. By 2010, women’s ski jumping will have held four World Junior Championships and a World Championship.

In contrast, women’s Ski Cross, which was accepted by the IOC for inclusion in Vancouver 2010, has half the number of athletes, competing in less than half the number of competitions on just one continent.