April 6, 2011
IOC approves women's ski jumping
By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency
Female ski jumpers are, well, jumping for joy at the news their sport is welcome at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee executive board voted in favour Wednesday after refusing to allow women to compete in ski jumping at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
"It's fantastic news, it's about time, we're elated," Ski Jumping Canada president Brent Morrice told QMI. "We're preparing and we're going to win a medal in 2014."
Women's ski jumping will be one of six new events at the Sochi Games.
Team events for figure skating and luge, ski halfpipe for men and women, and a biathlon mixed relay will be included for the Olympics at Russia's Black Sea resort.
Men's and women's ski and snowboard slopestyles and an Alpine team parallel competition will be monitored before a decision on their inclusion will be taken in May or June, IOC sports director Christophe Dubi said.
In welcoming the new sports, the IOC is seeking to boost universality, youth appeal and gender equity.
"Figure skating, for example, is an incredible sport," Dubi said. "It is extremely popular among various cultures and age groups. (The figure skating team event) is an incredible proposition. It is something that will add huge value to the Olympic program."
Women ski jumpers had unsuccessfully sued organizers over what they said was gender discrimination at the Vancouver Games.
"If you look a the sport now it is much more compact with much more quality than two years ago," Dubi said.
The women's sport held its inaugural world championship in 2009, with American Lindsay Van becoming its first title-holder. Daniela Iraschko of Austria won the 2011 event in February.
"We've worked really hard as athletes fighting for our sport, so this feels like a big success," Van said.
The 2010-11 Canadian women's team consisted of Charlotte Mitchell and Taylor Henrich. Morrice is hopeful that Katie Willis and Nata de Leeuw, who had retired when their Olympic hopes were dashed in 2010, will attempt comebacks.
Morrice said Calgary will remain the team's summer and winter training base.
-- with files from Reuters