Saturday, February 20, 2010

Women's Ski Jumping, Olympics, and UltraRunning



This is likely not news to some of us, but it may take some of us by surprise. Women's Ski Jumping is not an Olympic sport. Nobody comes right out and says so, but it's an artifact of the day when women were thought of as too delicate and the sport was too dangerous. Gotta protect those sensitive body parts hanging on the outside of the female body....sure glad that no similar such design flaw exists for us men.

Guess they forgot to tell the snowboarding women about the dangers of aerial sports ...unless maybe they have an invisible safety harness that keeps them and their delicate bodies from harm.

Likewise the powers that be must have forgotten to warn (and/or bar from competition) the thousands of women who not only run Ultras but even win some outright in open, mixed gender competition. We'd better put a stop to that stuff pronto before somebody hurts themselves.

Here's some of the history, at the risk of being called lazy by quoting from Wikipedia (who also gets credit for the stamp photo above).  In what is an unfortunate choice of words,

The existence of a men's competition without a women's competition has become a major bone of contention as the field of elite female competitors has grown.
It should be noted that women can compete internationally in ski jumping, just not at the Olympics:

Currently, women ski jump internationally in the Continental cup. On 26 May 2006, the International Ski Federation decided to allow women to ski jump at the 2009 Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic and then to have a team event for women at the 2011 world championships. FIS also decided to submit a proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow women to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
....
On 28 November 2006, the proposal for a women's ski jumping event was rejected by the Executive Board of the IOC.
....
A group of 15 competitive female ski jumpers filed a suit against the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) claiming that conducting a men's ski jumping event without a women's event in the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 would be in direct violation of Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The arguments associated with this suit were argued 20 to 24 April 2009 and a judgment came down on June 10, 2009 against the ski jumpers. The judge ruled that although the women were being discriminated against, the issue is a International Olympic Committee responsibility and thus not governed by the charter.

Here are some other blog reactions, some funny, some outraged, but all with a sad sense of serious injustice:

Southern Beale  and  Mother Jones go right to the relevant post.

For these two, you'll have to scroll down to find the ski jumping post:
Eschaton  and  Echidne of the Snakes

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