Women Just Wanna Ski Jump
As the Olympics get underway, we’re reminded that women are still trying to get their foot in the door of many sports. The latest battle is over ski jumping, a sport dominated by men since it was added to the Olympics. There are many women ski jumpers throughout the world. So far, the Olympic committee has said “nay” women’s ski jumpers.
The battle has begun to add the sport to in 2010. On one side you have the women athletes who’ve dominated their sport. National champions, Lindsey Van and Allisa Johnson, are at the forefront of the fight with the help of the Women’s Ski Jumpers USA. Also in their corner are other female athletes such as Olympic Gold Medalist, Nikki Stone. Her sport, aerial skiing, was adding in 1998.
On the other side is the IOC (International Olympic Committee). They have rules about when a sport can be added to the Olympics. First, there must be enough competitors world wide to make the event worthwhile. Second, athletes must already be competing in international competitions. While they are behind on putting together international competitions, they have plenty of athletes waiting for the changed. The International Federation of Skiing has 120 women from 14 nations registered. They believe that half can compete at the international level.
In addition to IOC rules, the women will have to overcome gender stereotypes. Some believe that women’s bodies are not built for ski jumping and that they run the risk of serious injury in the sport. One detractor stated that their bones are the same as the men and can’t withstand the rigors of landing. These Neanderthal ideas may be harder to overcome than the actual rules.
Athletes like Johnson and Van are undeterred. They applied for official status in 2006 but were denied. They have reapplied for 2010. There will be international competitions this year, so they will have met one of the IOC’s requirements by 2010. They have a fairly good chance of competing at the Olympic level in four years.