The Women’s Sports Foundation is honoring the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team tonight with the 2011 Wilma Rudolph Courage Award as part of the 32nd Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Gala in New York City.
Team members and their supporting foundation, Women’s Ski Jumping USA (WSJ-USA), are being recognized for their perseverance and courage in fighting to gain Olympic status for their sport. In April 2011, the International Olympic Committee added a women’s ski jumping event to the Olympic Winter Games program beginning in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Ski jumping (and Nordic Combined) have been the only disciplines in the Winter Games to exclude women.
Ski jumpers Lindsey Van, Jessica Jerome and Alissa Johnson, and WSJ-USA President Deedee Corradini are in New York to receive the award.
“To be honored by such a reputable organization with core values in which I truly believe is amazing,” said Jessica Jerome. “This award isn’t just for me and my team, it represents a much larger group of people and all their efforts and beliefs that helped us get to where we are today.”
The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) was founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King. Deedee Corradini said it is incredible for the team and WSJ-USA to be recognized by one of the most influential organizations in the world that advocates for girls and women in sports.
“This is a wonderful day for the team, the sport and all of our supporters and sponsors,” Corradini said.
Alissa Johnson, who also received a WSF 2010 Travel and Training grant, hopes others find inspiration in their struggle. “I want our story to show young girls that if they believe in something, they can fight for it no matter what’s thrown in their way.”
2009 World Ski Jumping Champion Lindsey Van said courage helped her and her teammates get through the toughest days. “We stood up as athletes and made it happen,” she added.
The Annual Salute to Women features the announcement of the Sportswoman of the Year Award winners (individual and team) and the recipients of the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award, the Billie Jean King Contribution Award, the ANNIKA Inspiration Award, and a tribute to the PAC-12 Conference.
Veteran ESPN sports broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein will host the event. And on stage to present the awards will be WSF founder Billie Jean King; World Champion boxer and WSF President Laila Ali; and Academy Award-winning actress Holly Hunter.
More about the award:
The Wilma Rudolph Courage Award is presented to a female athlete or team, who exhibits extraordinary courage in their athletic performance, demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity, makes significant contributions to sports and serves as an inspiration and role model to those who face challenges, overcomes them and strives for success at all levels. This award was first given in 1996 to Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Learn more at www.womenssportsfoundation.org/