Female ski jumpers’ last ditch effort

Courtesy of Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press

By: Mai Nguyen

They gave it their all in the last shot, but it failed. On Dec. 22, the group of female ski jumpers was unsuccessful in convincing the Supreme Court of Canada to consider toppling an Olympic policy, which bans them from competing in the upcoming Vancouver winter games.

The battle goes as far back as May 2008 when the group claimed their exclusion from the Games was a breach of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On the surface, the group seemed to have a solid case to order Olympic organizers to embrace a women’s ski-jumping competition. But between the fine lines, the Charter has no say in what games should be included in the 2010 Olympic Games.

Instead, the International Olympic Committee makes the decisions. IOC President Jacques Rogge has been clear in the past that the competition between female ski jumpers isn’t great enough to allow its inclusion in the upcoming Olympic Games.

However, the group of women has contended that they have competed in many international sporting events in the past to warrant their accommodation in the Games. Still, it was not enough. While the IOC denied claims of discrimination, the group’s lawyer, Ross Clark, is confident that the women had a strong case of gender inequity, saying that the Supreme Court should’ve “viewed the matter as one of national importance.”

If there is any ray of hope at all, it’s that the 2014 Olympic Games could open new doors for female ski jumpers, according to Vancouver’s Olympic Committee (VANOC). After months of teary faces and shattered dreams, the group of female athletes showed persistence that can’t be ignored for too long.

Calgary ski jumper Charlotte Mitchell was let down by the decision, but she and many others did not admit defeat. “My tears are from disappointment,” Mitchell said in an interview with CTV. “But we still have faith and we’re not giving up. We’ve got to keep fighting for it.”


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