Women's ski jumping may still take flight at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics if a human rights complaint filed on Monday by the Canadian team is successful.
The team hopes the complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission will help overturn the International Olympic Committee's decision to keep their sport out of the Games.
The complaint alleges the federal government is obligated to challenge the IOC's decision to exclude women's ski jumping from the Games.
The IOC decision, which was made on Nov. 29, is not factually supportable, is contrary to the Olympic charter and does not respect Canadian principles of gender equity, it alleges.
At meetings in Kuwait in November, the IOC approved the sport of ski cross — similar to snowboard cross — instead of women's ski jumping and five other events.
Ski jumping and nordic combined are the only competitions in the Winter Olympics in which women don't participate. While the IOC is eager to have gender equity in all sports, officials said women's jumping is still too young to be made an Olympic event for 2010.
"It's still not ready," said IOC vice-president Gunilla Lindberg in November, noting that the first world championship in the women's ski jumping isn't scheduled until 2009.
"In our analysis, there are not enough athletes and not enough countries. They have to work with the international ski federation and nordic combined to be ready for 2014."
Brent Morrice, chairman of Ski Jumping Canada, called the IOC's decision short sighted.
He said Olympic ski jumping has the support of the International Ski Federation (FIS), the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Vancouver Organizing Committee.
"Truly these girls are ready to compete, and it is the right thing to do," he told CBC Calgary after the decision was made.
Five Canadian women — including 15-year-old Katie Willis and teenage teammates Atsuko Tanaka, Nata De Leeuw and Zoya Lynch — are ranked in the top 40 in Continental Cup competition, the highest level of ski jumping for women.