VANCOUVER COURT CASE
WOMEN SKI JUMPERS' LEGAL PUSH FOR THE 2010 OLYMPICS
The International Ski Federation (the sport’s governing body) voted 114-1 to recommend women’s ski jumping inclusion in the Olympics. Later that year, the IOC voted against adding a single women’s jumping event to the Vancouver Games.
The IOC told the women that their sport “lacked universality.” That year, 83 women ski jumpers from 14 nations were jumping at the elite level in the Continental Cup. That same year, the IOC voted to accept skier cross, a totally new sport. In keeping with the IOC’s 1991 decision that all new sports include both men and women, that meant that a sport with 30 female skiers from 11 nations at the World Cup was included, while the women ski jumpers were excluded. At that time, there were also fewer female athletes participating in the World Cups in bobsleigh, luge, skeleton and snowboard cross and yet they participate in the Olympics as well.
Active and retired women ski jumpers from five countries file a discrimination lawsuit with the British Columbia Supreme Court to be included in the Vancouver 2010 Games. The lawyers for the jumpers, Ross Clark and Jeff Horswill of Davis LLP, take on the case pro bono.
February, the first World Championship for women’s ski jumping was held in Liberec, Czech Republic. The top five finishers came from the United Sates, Germany, Norway, Austria and France. American Lindsey Van was crowned the sport’s first-ever female world champion and top American Jessica Jerome finished 6th — both were plaintiffs in the discrimination lawsuit.
April, a court hearing in British Columbia Supreme Court to hear the women jumpers’ arguments vs. Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee. Court reserves judgment to take time to decide.
May, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association drops the women’s ski jumping program and will no longer fund the team. Decision was based upon budget cuts and because women's ski jumping was not part of the Olympic program. The U.S. women’s team remained one of the best in the world.
August and September, The women ski jumpers who sued VANOC write to IOC president Jacques Rogge asking him to clarify how they don’t meet the criteria for the Olympic Games. The jumpers provide universality and participation numbers as an example of how they do qualify for the Games. The women offer to drop the lawsuit appeal if the IOC grants them one event in Vancouver. Rogge never answers the question but says the IOC has added women’s ski jumping to the inaugural Youth Games in 2012.
November, Three-judge panel in the BC Court of Appeal is unanimous in its decision to dismiss the women jumpers’ appeal. The jumpers ask the Supreme Court of Canada to hear their case. On Dec. 22, the SCC denies their request.
April 6, The IOC Executive Board approves one women’s ski jumping event (normal hill) for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games program.