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Canadian Women Ski Jumpers Sue Over Ioc's 2010 Exclusion


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Being a rather liberal country, over the last few years Canadian women ski jumpers (and some international ski jumpers as well) have been building a lawsuit to sue the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee for the International Olympic Committee's decision to exclude women's ski jumping from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee's decision was made in the summer of 2007, and told the women that their sport is not developed enough to permit an Olympic competition. The sport does not have sufficient worldwide interest, and there are far too few athletes and an inclusion of the sport at its premature stage would only dilute the value of the Olympic medal. The women ski jumping sport has only held one world competition/cup in its history, and that happened last year.

The women ski jumpers sued VANOC subsequently, arguing that that VANOC is violating their rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms by refusing to hold an event for them. VANOC has said that it is abiding by the wishes of the International Olympic Committee, which has told the women that their sport is not developed enough to permit an Olympic competition. The IOC is responsible for choosing what sports are held at the Olympics, not the local organizing committee. VANOC has maintained that it is not in violation of the Charter because it is contractually bound to implement the IOC's decision not to include a women's ski-jumping competition. In addition, at this point with just months until the 2010 Games it is far too late to add the women's event into the schedule.

The women ski jumpers haven't made any friends either: they also told the court that if the women's event is not held, the men's ski jumping event should be forbidden from going ahead. All ski jumping events should be canceled. They have completely destroyed any positive relationship they have had with the male athletes, and have also isolated themselves from rest of the worldwide athlete community by attempting to "cheat" their way into becoming an Olympic sport rather than using the proper channels to include their sport into the Olympics (like women's boxing for London 2012).

After nearly half a year in court, the Vancouver judge made a decision last month and agreed with VANOC. Although she "sympathized the women ski jumpers", she said the court doesn't have the authority to force the International Olympic Committee to include the sport in the 2010 Games. The International Olympic Committee is responsible for what sports is included in the Games, and VANOC has a contractual obligation to fulfill its wishes.


Proponents of women's ski jumping, largely the media, have also fanned the flames of the whole lawsuit. They have depicted the IOC as a boogeyman that discriminates against women, and thus why women's ski jumping is not an Olympic sport. And thus, the public has also bought into it as a black vs. white situation. Much of the flame fanning was by one Vancouver Sun columnist, Daphne Bramham. Read one of her articles on the case:


This is far from over though. The women ski jumpers are have filed the case to the Court of Appeal. And the court's decision won't be made until November, 3 months before the 2010 Games!

If the women ski jumpers win the appeal, what kind of precedent does this set for future Olympic bids from Canada? More importantly, what kind of precedent does this set for the International Olympic Committee?

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