British Columbia

Female ski jumpers challenge Olympic ban

Canada's female ski jumping team is launching a human rights complaint in an effort to change rules that prevent them from competing in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Canada's female ski jumping team is launching a human rights complaint in an effort to change rules that prevent them from competing in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Ski jumping is the only Olympic winter sport that still excludes women, under the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The ski jumpers' plan to file the rights complaint in the new year against the federal government, on the grounds that it is funding a sport that allows only men to compete at the highest level.

Coach Gregor Linsig told CBC News the four teens on the team have been doing well in international competition. But because they can't compete in 2010, they fail to qualify for federal funding.

"It sucks, when I've got to tell Katie Willis — she's ranked sixth in the world — 'I want to take you to this competition but we can't get you there because we have no money.'"

Linsig said IOC and international ski jumping officials have complained that female ski jumping didn't have enough worldwide competition, and that females couldn't handle the physical demands of the sport.

Linsig said the officials argued "that it's medically unfit for women to be ski jumpers, which is a great one that didn't go over well with everyone, that's it's just too dangerous for women — even though you have women aerials, women skeleton, luge, bobsled."
There are 16 countries with female ski jumping teams, and Linsig said his four jumpers will find a way to keep up with their sport, despite being barred from Olympic competition.

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