Frustrated ski jumpers to have case heard in April
Group contends women should be allowed to compete at 2010 Olympics
A group of women ski jumpers hoping to participate at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler will make its feelings known in B.C. Supreme Court in April.
A lawsuit will be heard on April 29 against the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee by a group of nine jumpers from Norway, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and the United States.
"We are pleased to be progressing in our lawsuit, and this allows enough time for the women's events to be added to the 2010 program," said DeeDee Corradini, a spokesperson for the women's ski jumping group.
The International Olympic Committee voted in 2006 to exclude women's ski jumping from the 2010 Games, saying the sport didn't meet the basic criteria for an Olympic event.
The lawsuit alleges that excluding women's ski jumping violates the athletes' rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It asks for women's ski jumping to be added to the 2010 Games, or, barring that, for men's ski jumping to be removed.
Vancouver Olympic organizers have said they are bound by the decision of the international committee.
The lawsuit argues VANOC had previously told the IOC it didn't want to include women's ski jumping because of budget constraints and its position determined or influenced the Olympic committee's vote against women's ski jumping, the only event at the Winter Games closed to women.
Seeking the same opportunity
The athletes are suing VANOC rather than the IOC because the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies only to governmental organizations in Canada.
A 12-time American champion, Lindsey Van, said the group simply wants the same opportunity as male ski jumpers, "who have World Cup, Continental Cup and every event there is and we have very few events."
The IOC has said its decision to exclude the sport from the 2010 Olympics is based on "technical merit" and isn't discriminatory.
Two years ago, the IOC voted not to allow women's ski jumping into the 2010 Games, saying the sport has not developed enough and that it didn't meet basic criteria for inclusion.
To be considered for inclusion in an Olympic Games, it's believed a sport must have held at least two world championships.
The first women's ski-jumping world championships will be held next year in Liberec, Czech Republic. However, Van and Corradini contend that requirement was taken out of the Olympic charter last year.
With files from the Canadian Press