Friday, April 08, 2011

FF - Women's Ski Jumping! Yeah!

I'll be away from my computer on Friday so I'm setting this on auto post and I really hope it works because...

It's time to celebrate!

Many of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I've long been frustrated with the IOC for not including women in the Nordic Ski Jumping competition at the Winter Games. I wasn't even aware that women weren't allowed to jump until I was researching for my SASS novel, THE FINNISH LINE. It boggled my mind when I found out. What age were we living in again? That was the year that World Class jumper Alissa Johnson sat on the sidelines at the Torino Olympics, watching her little brother Anders compete, but she was barred from participating because of her gender.

If that sounds crazy, some of the excuses the IOC used for not including a women's event were insane. It was too dangerous for girls (really!) or There weren't enough competitors in enough countries (wrong) or they were just not ready (ha!).

Women's Ski Jumping USA took up the fight ages ago, but they weren't included when the Olympics was held in their own back yard (Salt Lake City 2002), they didn't get the nod in time for Torino in 2006, and they were denied inclusion for Vancouver in 2010, even when other events that didn't meet the same rigid criteria the IOC was demanding of women's ski jumping were included. But the women didn't back down; they stepped up the fight even more. The Canadian athletes filed a discrimination lawsuit because their government would be providing funds to an organization that discriminated against women. Nada. Once again, the women were passed over.

You can understand then, with such a long and disappointing battle, how much this news means to these amazing women athletes:

On April 6, 2011, the IOC FINALLY voted to include women's ski jumping as an official event in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia!

You can read the story here, at the WSJUSA website.

(Guess where I'll be, winter 2014?)

I want to extend a HUGE congratulations to women jumpers everywhere, and in particular, the amazing ladies I met while working on THE FINNISH LINE - Abby Hughes, Alissa Johnson, Jessica Jerome, and Lindsey Van, and to their teammates, Avery Ardovino, Karin Friberg, Nina Lussi, and Nita Englund, to DeeDee Corridini, who has worked tirelessly for this day, to Vic Method, a great supporter and my contact with WSJUSA, and to all the countless others who would not take no for an answer, and demanded equality. Hooray!!!!!

For today's freebie, I'm offering three signed copies of my ski-jumping book, SASS: THE FINNISH LINE, which will soon become outdated (yay!) because in this book, girls couldn't yet jump in the Olympics... and now they can!!! Woot! I will also try to get my hands on some Sochi 2014 pins to go with the books, but as of this writing, I can't guarantee that yet. To be entered to win a copy of THE FINNISH LINE (and possibly a pin), leave a happy comment below. Bonus points if you jump over the WSJUSA website and join with the rest of us in supporting the women on their journey to Sochi. (Let me know in your comment.) Oh, and you could get your own pin, guaranteed, by donating just $10 to help support the women financially. (These are going to be collector pins, believe me. This is history!)

Because this is a celebratory week, this drawing will remain open until next Friday, April 15.

Happy Friday, and GO, WOMEN JUMPERS!!!!!