Women Ski Jumpers Lose Olympic Lawsuit

The British Columbia Appeal Court provided written rationale for it’s ruling that will allow Olympic organizers to hold a men’s ski jumping event, but not a women’s event in the upcoming Vancouver Olympic games. According to the Associated Press, the Court wrote in its decision that “It is a case in which a non-governmental body (VANOC) is brought before the court as a result of policies which neither it nor any Canadian authority has the power to change,” the justices wrote in the ruling…VANOC simply does not have the power to determine what events are included in the 2010 Olympic program.”

After the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected the inclusion of women’s ski jumping in the 2010 games, fourteen athletes brought the issue to court as a sex discrimination case. They argued that the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) is subject to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and therefore should not allow sex discrimination in the Olympic events it will host. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled in July that while the exclusion of women’s ski jumping is discriminatory, only the IOC has the authority to determine which events are included.

The IOC says it will not stage a women’s ski jump event because there are not enough women competing at the highest levels of the sport. However, men’s ski jumping also does not fully meet the IOC’s criteria for inclusion but has been an Olympic sport since 1924 and was grandfathered into the 2010 games. Even if the current case is appealed to the Canadian Supreme Court, it will not be heard prior to the 2010 Olympic Games.


Associated Press 11/20/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/12/09; Reuters Canada 11/13/09

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