Women Ski Jumpers continue fight to jump


By Michael Herborn
Female ski jumpers have pledged to appeal a ruling by the Supreme Court of the Canadian province of British Columbia that the organisers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are not bound by Canadian constitutional law to offer a women’s ski jump event at the Games.

Lawyers representing the group ‘Let Women Ski Jump in 2010’, argue that VANOC is in breach of Federal and Provincial Law which prohibits the use of public funds for venues that exclude women and will take their case to the appeal courts.

“It’s not over,” says Deedee Corradini, president of Women’s Ski Jump-USA and spokesperson for the group. “We took a few days for our lawyers to review last week’s judgment and to canvass our plaintiffs to see what everyone thought and now we’re ready to continue our fight to get the women into 2010.”

According to lawyer Ross Clark, Q.C., the appeal will be based on the argument that VANOC must host the Games in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “It cannot host events on Canadian soil that implement discrimination,” argues Clark.

The British Columbia Supreme Court found in the initial court case that VANOC’s activities in the planning, organising, funding and staging of the Winter Games are “uniquely governmental in nature” and thus make it subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, as VANOC was contractually bound by IOC regulations, and as the IOC is located in Switzerland, outside Canadian jurisdiction, the Charter did not apply.

Although the Games start in less than seven months time, Corradini is confident that if their court case is successful, female ski jumpers will be able to take to the slopes in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“We believe with an expedited ruling in September that still leaves plenty of time for VANOC to plan and host a single women’s ski jumping event next February,” says Corradini. “When we hosted the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, we had contingency plans for everything. I’m sure they can accommodate us, especially given all the supportive comments they’ve made about the women ski jumpers’ situation.”

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