Vancouver – The women ski jumpers suing VANOC for inclusion in the 2010 Olympics are back in court today and Friday with arguments that will build on the trial judge’s findings of discrimination and VANOC carrying out a government activity, according to Ross Clark, Q.C., lawyer for the jumpers and a partner with Davis LLP in Vancouver.
“We will ask the court to consider whether the IOC can force VANOC to discriminate when it’s carrying out a government activity,” Clark explained. “We don’t agree with the trial judge’s findings that the International Olympic Committee is the final authority.”
Deedee Corradini, president of Women’s Ski Jumping-USA and former mayor of Salt Lake City, agrees with Clark. “Canada has poured over $2.5 billion taxpayer dollars into the 2010 Olympics and almost daily local, provincial and federal politicians are claiming credit for hosting the games. Rights to free speech are being curtailed and government will be forced to underwrite any loss,” Corradini pointed out. “It seems obvious that government is deeply involved.”
According to Corradini, VANOC’s argument of being supportive of the women ski jumpers is not credible either.
“This is not what support looks like. Support would be VANOC taking the jumpers’ position to the IOC itself rather than having the athletes take on the fight themselves,” she explained. “VANOC could have told the IOC there is a human rights law in Canada which says that a distinction cannot be drawn between men and women, and what it offers to one, it must offer to the other.
“What VANOC has done is window dressing at best,” she added. “I know from my intimate involvement in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake that VANOC has its own board and has tremendous decision making power of its own.”
A panel of judges will hear the appeal and an expedited ruling, with reasons to follow, has been requested. The 14 elite women ski jumpers who are plaintiffs – several of whom will attend court this week – are optimistic about their chances to win and to participate in the Games next FebruaryWomen ski jumpers in Court of Appeal tomorrow
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November 12, 2009 at 11:31 am
This is a joke. They should probably be counter-sued for continuing this frivolous lawsuit. Don’t they realize they are a very small niche in a niche sport. We probably need to worry more about all ski jumping remaining in the Olympics. A very small population participates in ski jumping. This hardly represents the type of world-wide competition that the Olympics is supposed to represent. How is this fair to athletes in other sports that must compete against millions of others to be considered olympians?
November 12, 2009 at 12:35 pm
themkon, I strongly disagree with your position. The sport is currently part of the Winter Olympics and this exclusion based on gender is an obvious case of discrimination.
Since women’s XC skiing is a “niche sport” across most of the globe, should it too be omitted from the OWGs?
November 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm
If I and 200 other men starting competing at rythmic gymnastics, it wouldn’t give us the “right” to compete in the olympics simply because women do. When we were turned down, it would be because the sport of men’s rythmic gymnastics wouldn’t have enough participation to qualify as an olympic sport. It wouldn’t be fair to the athletes in other sports. It would not be gender discrimination.
November 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm
In this case I place the blame on the FIS rather than the IOC. If I recall correctly it was only added to the world champs last year in Liberec. It’s hard to make an argument that a sport is developed enough to deserve a spot on the Olympic roster when it’s own governing body disagrees.
Now, as for the FIS failing to take steps to develop the sport on the international level, that is inexcusable.
November 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm
In trying to find some of the reasoning the IOC has been using to thwart women’s ski jumping, I look at this year’s Olympic quotas for all countries, which have been published (and available on this website–thanks!). It shows a total of 70 jumpers and a mere 55 for Nordic Combined (my event, and I was strongest in jumping, so I sympathize with jumpers). Compared to over 300 for xc and alpine, nearly 200 for freestyle and snowboarding. the numbers for jumping and combined are not impressive. Fans arguing for women’s jumping could go a step farther and argue for women’s Nordic Combined. Doesn’t make sense now.
Most sports organizations reason that if there is not much event participation among the bodies, groups, nations, or whatever they control, they won’t sponsor a “championship” in that event. The NCAA’s dropped ski jumping several years ago, as an example. There were not many colleges with ski jumping teams, so——-. Just now, I’m afraid there simply aren’t enough nations with ski jumping teams, so the IOC is not impressed.