Women's ski jumping would dilute 2010 Games: Rogge
Jacques Rogge isn't keen to see women's ski jumping in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, told reporters Thursday in Vancouver that women's ski jumping hasn't achieved Olympic status because it has just 80 competitors worldwide.
"If you have three medals, with 80 athletes competing on a regular basis, internationally, the percentage of medal winners is extremely high," Rogge said. "In any other sport, you are speaking about hundreds of thousands, if not tens of millions of athletes, at a very high level, competing for one single medal.
"We do not want the medals to be diluted and watered down. That is the bottom line."
Several Canadian ski jumpers recently argued the IOC was discriminating against them, and took their case to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
"This is not discrimination," Rogge said. "This is just the respect of essential technical rules that say, to become an Olympic sport, a sport must be widely practised around the world … and have a big appeal.
"This is not the case for women's ski jumping, so there is no discrimination whatsoever. That will change in the future."
Rogge further noted that he plans to speak with federal Sports Minister Helena Guergis, who has publicly supported the Canadian ski jumpers.
Pleased with progress in Vancouver
Rogge spent the past three days in Vancouver, reviewing the city's preparations for the Games and touring the Olympic venues.
He met with officials from the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and the mayors of Vancouver and Whistler.
"I'm very pleased with the state of preparedness, there is no doubt about that," Rogge said. "VANOC is advancing according to the deadlines and the schedules and, even in some cases, is ahead of it.
"We're sure everything will be ready in due time. I'm also very pleased to see there is a great legacy already in place, even two years before the Games have begun."
"The process of moving toward the finish line is changing all the time," said John Furlong, chief executive officer of VANOC.
"We have come a long way, but we have a long ways to go. It is nice to know our work is seen to be good work."
It marked Rogge's second visit to B.C. since Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Winter Games on July 2, 2003.
With files from the Canadian Press