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Women Ski Jumpers Tell Court: Let Us Compete In 2010


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There are lots of events (for some reason mainly in the summer games) that only women compete as there isn't a male version of the sport. So it is not like there is discrimination. Stop wasting ouro time and money and build your sport up so you can actually have a competition.

In the meantime I'm going to start a synchronized swimming team and a rhythmic gymnastics team, only those 200+ with beer bellies need apply (like Chris Farley in the SNL skit). Then we'll start our court proceedings....

This was not a Vanoc decision, it was an IOC decision and it was not based on discrimination because of gender, it was not allowing the event because there is not enough participation from around the world. There are participating rules for all sports, men and woman so why should this be any different. Spend the time and money developing the sport so it will be included in 2014.

I'm also not exactly sure how they're making friends by saying that if they can't compete, the men shouldn't be able to do as well.

The IOC wants to trump our equality rights

Vanoc will claim its right to impunity when female ski jumpers go to court next week

By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun columnist

April 20, 2009 2:46 PM

It's not that long ago that golf courses restricted when women could play and hockey rinks were almost the sole preserve of boys and men.

But build a rink, pool, golf course or other athletic facility today and ban women? Impossible? Hardly. In February 2010, only men will be allowed on the ski jump at the $122.4-million Whistler Olympic Park, built exclusively with taxpayers' money.

It's the second time Canadians have paid for an Olympic jump and stood passively by as women and girls were banned from competition. The same thing happened in Calgary even though the constitutional guarantee of equality rights had been passed six years earlier.

At those 1988 Games, the two most expensive Olympic venues -- the sliding centre and ski jump -- were almost exclusively male preserves. Women competed in luge, but it was 2002 before bobsleigh and skeleton became women's events.

It's a sad legacy of Calgary's Olympics that female ski jumpers are still waiting for their chance because nobody told them when they first flew off the jump at the Calgary Olympic Park or when they started beating the boys in local and even national competitions that it's a sport deemed unsuitable for women.

More than two decades later, the difference is that the women and girls are now mad as hell.

Charlotte Mitchell of Calgary is one of them. At 14, she's the youngest of 15 plaintiffs in the case that goes to B.C. Supreme Court next week. What these former, current and future champions want is an injunction forcing Vanoc to let the women compete at the 2010 Games schedule or, alternatively, an injunction forcing cancellation of the men's event.

"I would like to set Olympic gold as my long-term goal in ski-jumping," says Mitchell. "But unlike my 16-year-old brother Eric, who is on the Canadian men's team and with whom I train, I cannot see this as anything more than a dream because I am female and thus not included at the Olympic Games in this discipline."

Despite 126 pages of legal arguments, the heart of Vanoc's position is simple. It cannot provide what the plaintiffs want because the International Olympic Committee has sole authority over and control of every aspect of the Games from the design of the torch, mascots and logo to the events, Charter or no Charter.

Vanoc denies the plaintiff's contention that it is controlled by the federal, provincial and city governments.

"A simple analogy . . . is that Vanoc is akin to a franchisee of the IOC," it says in its argument. Further in the argument, it describes the IOC as the "supreme authority" with the Games being its "exclusive property," which Vanoc organizes in line with the Olympic Charter.

As an international body, the IOC is not bound by the Canadian Charter of Rights, but it is bound by its own Olympic version that promises gender equity.

Still, Vanoc president John Furlong is quoted in the argument as saying that if Vanoc were to hold a women's event without IOC sanction, "this would create a very serious incident and deeply impair the relationship between Vanoc and the IOC."

"It would also have long-standing negative ramifications for the COC [Canadian Olympic Committee], who will deal with the IOC on an ongoing basis . . . beyond the 2010 Winter Games."

So, it comes down to this. All next week, nobody will argue that there is anything fair or right about women being excluded.

Nobody will even posit that it is anything but rank, old-fashioned discrimination based on such flimsy excuses as, ski jumping is dangerous.

Instead, they're going to spend a whole week arguing over the divine right of the International Olympic Committee to do whatever it damn well pleases, regardless of any country's laws, principles or values.

And if Vanoc wins, not only do the ski jumpers lose, all women do. And so do Canadians, long known as outspoken proponents of human rights. Canada's inability to defend and support equality on its own soil will cost it another little piece of respect in the world community.

dbramham@vancouversun.com

© Copyright © The Vancouver Sun

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The IOC wants to trump our equality rights

Vanoc will claim its right to impunity when female ski jumpers go to court next week

By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun columnist

April 20, 2009 2:46 PM

It's not that long ago that golf courses restricted when women could play and hockey rinks were almost the sole preserve of boys and men.

But build a rink, pool, golf course or other athletic facility today and ban women? Impossible? Hardly. In February 2010, only men will be allowed on the ski jump at the $122.4-million Whistler Olympic Park, built exclusively with taxpayers' money.

It's the second time Canadians have paid for an Olympic jump and stood passively by as women and girls were banned from competition. The same thing happened in Calgary even though the constitutional guarantee of equality rights had been passed six years earlier.

There was no organized women's ski jumping in the 80's it is a very recent happening due to FIS's desire of gender equality

At those 1988 Games, the two most expensive Olympic venues -- the sliding centre and ski jump -- were almost exclusively male preserves. Women competed in luge, but it was 2002 before bobsleigh and skeleton became women's events.

Again women's bobsleigh is a very recent happening, occurring the the 90's. Skeleton wasn't a men's event until 2002 as well

It's a sad legacy of Calgary's Olympics that female ski jumpers are still waiting for their chance because nobody told them when they first flew off the jump at the Calgary Olympic Park or when they started beating the boys in local and even national competitions that it's a sport deemed unsuitable for women.

No one is saying its unsuitable to women, the IOC and FIS is saying that it is not technically developed enough for inclusion at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

More than two decades later, the difference is that the women and girls are now mad as hell.

Charlotte Mitchell of Calgary is one of them. At 14, she's the youngest of 15 plaintiffs in the case that goes to B.C. Supreme Court next week. What these former, current and future champions want is an injunction forcing Vanoc to let the women compete at the 2010 Games schedule or, alternatively, an injunction forcing cancellation of the men's event.

"I would like to set Olympic gold as my long-term goal in ski-jumping," says Mitchell. "But unlike my 16-year-old brother Eric, who is on the Canadian men's team and with whom I train, I cannot see this as anything more than a dream because I am female and thus not included at the Olympic Games in this discipline."

Our 14, don't be so dramatic, athlete's don't reach their best until the 20's in normal sports and by 2014 you will only be 19, get over yourself.

Despite 126 pages of legal arguments, the heart of Vanoc's position is simple. It cannot provide what the plaintiffs want because the International Olympic Committee has sole authority over and control of every aspect of the Games from the design of the torch, mascots and logo to the events, Charter or no Charter.

Vanoc denies the plaintiff's contention that it is controlled by the federal, provincial and city governments.

"A simple analogy . . . is that Vanoc is akin to a franchisee of the IOC," it says in its argument. Further in the argument, it describes the IOC as the "supreme authority" with the Games being its "exclusive property," which Vanoc organizes in line with the Olympic Charter.

As an international body, the IOC is not bound by the Canadian Charter of Rights, but it is bound by its own Olympic version that promises gender equity.

Still, Vanoc president John Furlong is quoted in the argument as saying that if Vanoc were to hold a women's event without IOC sanction, "this would create a very serious incident and deeply impair the relationship between Vanoc and the IOC."

"It would also have long-standing negative ramifications for the COC [Canadian Olympic Committee], who will deal with the IOC on an ongoing basis . . . beyond the 2010 Winter Games."

So, it comes down to this. All next week, nobody will argue that there is anything fair or right about women being excluded.

Nobody will even posit that it is anything but rank, old-fashioned discrimination based on such flimsy excuses as, ski jumping is dangerous.

Again no one is saying the sport is not for women, they are saying the sport is not developed enough for the prestige of the Olympic Games.

Instead, they're going to spend a whole week arguing over the divine right of the International Olympic Committee to do whatever it damn well pleases, regardless of any country's laws, principles or values.

And if Vanoc wins, not only do the ski jumpers lose, all women do. And so do Canadians, long known as outspoken proponents of human rights. Canada's inability to defend and support equality on its own soil will cost it another little piece of respect in the world community.

This has nothing to do with equality, but everything to do with the level of competition and the depth of the competition field.

dbramham@vancouversun.com

© Copyright © The Vancouver Sun

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This isn't a rumour. Is a central argument of the women ski jumpers: either both genders compete or neither get to compete. We don't yet know the decision of the BC Supreme Court, however, I don't know if it will matter either way. And if it became "illegal" to stage the men's event in Canada, would VANOC have to pull a page from Melbourne 1956 and stage the ski jumping event in another country?

A part of me can see their point. But tearing down the men's competition isn't going to help them build up their own.

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They have no point, to be included as an event in the Olympics there must be a threshold of nations involved in the federation (which FIS has) and 2 world championships, there has been only one.

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One solution to this issue is to retain events as they now are, and have both men and women compete in them, together.

This avoids the issue of adding an event so late in the game, and perhaps not complying with the IOC's rules about world- wide participatiuon in a sport/event.

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They have no point, to be included as an event in the Olympics there must be a threshold of nations involved in the federation (which FIS has) and 2 world championships, there has been only one.

Agreed. Its hardly discrimatory if the qualification standards are applied equally to both genders. The women don't meet that standard? Tough beans....

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Well in equestrian there is no difference in men and women.

Though if FIS was to come out and say that it doesn't matter the gender, if you make the qualification standards to compete you can.

They did that when a group of women's shooters were pushing to be included at the Olympics, they got into a mixed event and than branched off into men's and women's down the road.

Foxx could probably enlighten us on the qualification.

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Diana makes an interesting point. After all, equestrian events are not gender specific. Does FIS (or whatever body that rules this sport) have gender requirements?

But that would take down the whole (and I don't mean it in a perjorative way...there's just no other term for it) 'sexist' philosophy of the Olympics. That would put the medical labs out of business.

In equestrian, it's really the horse showing off the control of the rider. Maybe the horses' genders should be separated? In yachting, it's the vessels.

But in all the other sports WITHOUT an extended...uhmmm, instrument to show off the performance, it's the human body that is the instrument to measure performance. And men AND women are made differently. Just as an example, men do NOT have periods. And the IOC (and most of the IFs) recognize and make allowances for those small differences.

Plus when you get both genders up there in the tight waiting room, you invite endless controversy in terms of sexual harrassment. How is an awkward touch considered 'on purpose' or accidental? It's just inviting a LOT of problems if they are combined.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Female ski jumpers misusing Canadian law - lawyer says

Jeff Lee, Canwest News Service

Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

VANCOUVER - Female ski jumpers who want to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics are misusing Canadian law to sue the Vancouver Organizing Committee, a lawyer for the committee said Wednesday.

Vanoc may wish to hold an event for female ski jumpers, but only the International Olympic Committee has the power to make that decision and it has already said the sport is not developed enough to permit it, George Macintosh told reporters outside B.C. Supreme Court.

"Frankly, Vanoc feels caught a little bit in the middle. The plaintiffs have an understandable desire to get into the 2010 Olympics for ski jumping and the IOC who decides these things has decided it is premature for the women ski jumping in 2010, maybe in 2014," Macintosh said. "Vanoc is in the position of advising the court that the wrong defendant's been sued."

Fifteen elite female ski jumpers are suing Vanoc arguing that the committee is violating their Charter rights by holding events for male ski jumpers but none for women.

The case is being closely watched by the International Olympic Committee, which Vanoc says in court documents has said that if it loses the case it would likely never hold another Olympics in Canada.

Renee Smith-Valade, Vanoc's vice-president of communications, said the organizing committee has offered help to the women to get ready for entry to the 2014 Sochi Games but isn't responsible for their denial to the Vancouver Games.

"We truly understand how disappointed the women ski jumpers are that they are not on the programme for the 2010 Winter Games," she said. "If anyone understands Olympic dreams, we do.Unfortunately for them, the reality is the decision is made by the IOC."

Smith-Valade said Vanoc offered a lot of help to the women.

"What we've done in the 2008 and 2009 winter season is to offer them free access to the training jumps in Whistler," she said. "We staged two national and one international competition, we've assisted them with their expenses, including their accommodation and transportation, and we've offered a number of ski jumping introductory courses to get more women involved in the sport."

The case, which is attracting international attention, is into the third day before Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon, who is being asked by the women to declare that Vanoc is violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Macintosh opened his defence to a packed standing-only courtroom, saying the women are using "an artificial construct to do what they ordinarily cannot do."

Earlier in the week the women's lawyer Ross Clark argued that Vanoc by its nature is either substantially controlled by Canadian governments or is undertaking a project at government request. If true, that would make Vanoc subject to the Charter and therefore would have to tell the IOC it either has to put on both men and women's events or neither.

But in his opening remarks to the judge, Macintosh said Vanoc isn't controlled by government.

"It is a fundamental point that the IOC alone determines the sports and diciplins of any sports in any Olympics," he said. "The IOC controls every facet of Vanoc's operations."

The case continues.

jefflee@vancouversun.com

This is absolutely retarded, I would be ashamed as a Canadian if the women ski jumpers got their way.

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Well in equestrian there is no difference in men and women.

Though if FIS was to come out and say that it doesn't matter the gender, if you make the qualification standards to compete you can.

They did that when a group of women's shooters were pushing to be included at the Olympics, they got into a mixed event and than branched off into men's and women's down the road.

Foxx could probably enlighten us on the qualification.

Even if the Ski Jumping events where declared mixed by the IOC (which is actually the case for doubles luge) womens could qualify, but the FIS would also need to changes (or bend) its rules. The qualification process for FIS events tend to be extremely confusing, but Ski Jumping actually has one of the simpler system. Now, quotas are assigned to NOCs and not individual athletes, so the fact that qualification is based on a point system that started in 2008 wouldn't technically hurt a women's chance to qualify. The problem is that rule 3.1 states that anyone competing at the Olympics is required to have scored at least one World Cup, Grand Prix or Continental Cup point (all of those events are men only, although there is a women's equivalent to the CC). So, what needs to happen is that the IOC needs to declare the Ski Jumping events mixed, and the FIS needs to amend the qualification standards (which is very unusual) to add that the women's continental cup also counts for rule 3.1 (of coarse, you could also interpret the rule as already being gender neutral, since it doesn't specifically specify the men's continental cup, although it is implied).

But even if all the stars align and that female ski jumpers are allowed to compete against the mens, the question remains: will any qualify? You have to understand that to compete at the Olympics in ski jumping: you don't just need to hit a certain distance or score, and there isn't the semingly infinite small country quotas that Alpine Skiing and Cross Country skiing have: only 70 jumpers will take part in Vancouver, no more that 5 per country. Whit that in mind, along whit the strength of the men's and women's team, the only two countries where female ski jumpers could realistically come from are Canada and the US.

There is another problem: female ski jumpers normally only compete on the normal hill, but if they go to the Olympics they will most likely need to jump the team event, which is on a large hill. Not that they wouldn't be able to do it, but I just wonder what kind of performances they could do since they are trained to jump normal hills.

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Hopefully the justice has enough sense to dismiss this.

But what happens if the judgment is in favour of the women? Would the IOC give in and allow women or would the IOC have the event moved to SLC?

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The case really should be dismissed. As all OCOGs do, VANOC merely organizes the Olympics according to the international rules of the sports federations and the IOC. It doesn't create or select the events.

The money on this lawsuit would have been better spent on recruiting more women from more countries into the sport. It is rather surprising, though, that this one sport has such a low number of female participation.

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The case really should be dismissed. As all OCOGs do, VANOC merely organizes the Olympics according to the international rules of the sports federations and the IOC. It doesn't create or select the events.

The money on this lawsuit would have been better spent on recruiting more women from more countries into the sport. It is rather surprising, though, that this one sport has such a low number of female participation.

If the male competition was banned, I think the IOC would likely move the ski jump and Nordic combined events to another community a la Stockholm 1956.

Yes, but cries of discrimination usually supersede common sense and get support from people that do not understand the issue.

Yes the money should have been spent on development instead of throwing a tantrum but that is people for you.

Nordic Combined has no female counterpart period, therefore its out of the realm of the lawsuit or the issue.

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Well, if the competition is banned, who pays for the Callaghan Valley ski jumps?

Unfortunately it will be a pure white elephant unless Ski Jump Canada gets the necessary funding to maintain a national program there.

What pisses me off is that the majority of these women are a) foreigners and B) young enough to still be in their prime in Sochi.

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Article on CBC.ca: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/amateur/story/200....pakhpijjjbleik

One of the comments I posted, which pretty much sums up my view: For all of those that don't understand why women's Ski Jumping hasn't been added, just go check the results from the 2009 World Championships. Honestly, go, I am waiting (google it, its the 2009 FIS World Nordic Skiing Championships, Ski Jumping, Ladies Normal Hill). Now look at the results, and compare them whit the men's results (either the Normal Hill or the Large Hill, it doesn't matter). So, you have them? Now, take a close look at the athletes age (if you have the FIS results the birth year should be between the name and the score). Also, notice the age of the three women's medallist and compare them whit the age of the average competitors, and then of the age of the lower-end elite female jumpers. That should give you an idea of why the sport is (quite literally) too young for the Olympics.

Oh, and before you bring up Gymnastic, don't forget that the most successful women ski jumpers are among the oldest (like, 25 years old...) athletes of there sport. Of coarse, when you are at your physical peek, you would be expected to come on top of a pack of teenagers...

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A brilliant argument. One I did not think of. This is getting ridiculous and the uneducated idiots that spew garbage on CBC is getting pathetic. Everyone isn't entitled to a view, you're entitled to an enlightened, informed and educated view.

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Article on CBC.ca: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/amateur/story/200....pakhpijjjbleik

One of the comments I posted, which pretty much sums up my view: For all of those that don't understand why women's Ski Jumping hasn't been added, just go check the results from the 2009 World Championships. Honestly, go, I am waiting (google it, its the 2009 FIS World Nordic Skiing Championships, Ski Jumping, Ladies Normal Hill). Now look at the results, and compare them whit the men's results (either the Normal Hill or the Large Hill, it doesn't matter). So, you have them? Now, take a close look at the athletes age (if you have the FIS results the birth year should be between the name and the score). Also, notice the age of the three women's medallist and compare them whit the age of the average competitors, and then of the age of the lower-end elite female jumpers. That should give you an idea of why the sport is (quite literally) too young for the Olympics.

Oh, and before you bring up Gymnastic, don't forget that the most successful women ski jumpers are among the oldest (like, 25 years old...) athletes of there sport. Of coarse, when you are at your physical peek, you would be expected to come on top of a pack of teenagers...

And you know Gymnastics isn't like ski jumping. I'm sure Ski Jumping is maybe 40% skill and 60% FUN. Gymnastics is 100% work. It is NOT fun. It is ALL work and pain.

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I just wasted 5-minus skimming through 10 pages of comments at CBC, and wow...just wow....some Canadians are just absolutely retarded.

I would be ashamed to be Canadian if the women got their way. It's an absolute abuse of the Charter for their own self-interests in winning a medal in a weak playing field. In summary, the IOC's decision was based on the sport not having enough women and experienced women playing the sport: awarding Olympic medals for that sport would dilute the value of the Olympic medal. And next time the IOC considers Canada as a host, it certainly won't forget what happened in Vancouver as apparently in Canada they won't have control over what sport competitions are being held.

This disgusts me.

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