Tag Archives: Ski Jumping

The Most Important Event at Sochi’s Games

Gorki“The stars seemed near enough to touch and never before have I seen so many. I always believed the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, but I was sure of it that night.” – Amelia Earhart

When someone asks me which event(s) I recommend watching during an Olympic Games, my typical response is, “Watch all  of  it!”  Yes, I still stand by this.  As a fanatic I believe that all of the Olympics are worth watching.  However,  if one isn’t going to tune in for all of the competition, I can say without doubt that there is one event in Sochi worthy of everyone’s attention:  Women’s ski jumping.

Back in 2010 I wrote a lengthy commentary on gender bias in Olympic sports, focusing on the ridiculous and inexcusable exclusion of women’s ski jumping from the Olympics.  The fact that in the 21st Century women’s

Pioneer and Olympian Lindsey Van (Photo:  WSJ-USA)

Pioneer and Olympian Lindsey Van (Photo: WSJ-USA)

ski jumping still wasn’t a part of the Olympic Games….Well, I still can’t wrap my head around it.  Yet thankfully with all the tireless efforts of athletes, coaches, and various sponsors, women are finally getting their opportunity to compete in Olympic ski jumping.  The historical event will begin tomorrow (Tuesday), February 11 with the normal hill  competition.  Pioneers like Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome who fought tirelessly for equality and inclusion in the Olympics are finally seeing the fruits of their labor.  And compared to what they’ve endured over the years to earn their place in the Olympics, launching off a 70-meter hill might be less daunting.

fis-womens-ski-jumping-hinzenbach-20140202-155832-313

Women ski jumpers will finally have an Olympic podium. (Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Europe)

As a child I was inspired by the story of Amelia Earhart.  The tales of her courageous adventurous spirit and her belief in gender equality helped make me who I am today.  How many young girls out there have been–and will be–inspired by Lindsey Van Jessica Jerome, or Sara Takanashi?  How many of them watching this week will be encouraged by these athletes’ bold determination, mesmerized as they watch them soar through the air under a Sochi evening sky? Regardless of who will be standing on the podium tomorrow night, all of Sochi’s female jumpers deserve role model status.  Their dogged determination, conviction, and bravery is to be celebrated. Their gallantry deserves the gratitude of all women, old and young.

There will be other memorable stirring moments in these Olympics.  But tomorrow night when the first and last jumpers speed down the hill and launch themselves into the frosty air, history will be made.  And to all of them, I say: Thanks.

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

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Jerome Headed for Hall of Fame–Are Olympics Next?

Women’s ski jumping might not yet be in the Olympics (decision is still pending), but it continues to gain respect.  For the second year in a row, the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame (ASJHF) has included a female in its list of athletes for its December induction.  Congratulations to Jessica Jerome for being selected as an inductee this year!

AP Photo

The full press release of Jerome’s selection and ceremony details can be found at the Women’s Ski Jumping USA page.

Typically an athlete is inducted into his or her sport’s halls of fame after a lengthy career and numerous medals, which often  includes a gold, silver, or bronze from the Olympics.  Yet for Jerome, her hall of fame induction is coming first without any Olympic medal hung around her neck.  While Jerome is a veteran ski jumper with numerous victories, she still has not been allowed to compete in the Olympics.

A decision on whether female jumpers will be allowed to compete in the 2014 Games is pending, with a decision coming in March or April 2011.  Until it gains acceptance by all, the ladies will continue to need funding to cover training and travel costs.  Unlike their male counterparts in the sport, they do not receive funding from the US Ski & Snowboard Association.

Congrats again to Jessica, who truly embodies the Olympic motto:

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

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Promising News for Women’s Ski Jumping!

Women’s Ski Jumping USA just posted some promising news!  Click here to read about this announcement.

These qualified athletes still haven’t been allowed to compete in the Olympics, but today’s news makes me hopeful that such a wrongful exclusion will soon be corrected.

Don’t forget that female jumpers are still in urgent need of funding and support.  More information on how to help can be found here.

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Women’s Ski Jumping: What Would Coubertin Do?

Thanks to Lindsey Van and the representatives from Women’s Ski Jumping USA for their time and information provided for this post.

At the recent Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Simon Ammann won the gold medal in both the normal and large hill events of men’s ski jumping.  However, prior to the Games, neither Amman nor his fellow male jumpers held the record for distance jumped on the normal hill at Whistler Ski Jump.  That record was held by a woman, American Lindsey Van, who was not allowed to compete.

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Day 1 at Vancouver: What I Love About 2010 Olympics

Olympic gold medalist in ski jump, Switzerland's Simon Ammann

Following a day of mixed emotions–the fallen Georgian slider and a celebratory finish late into the evening, I went to sleep with images of the illuminating opening ceremony in my mind.  Saturday morning, I woke up groggy, went for a run, and came home to begin anxiously waiting for television coverage of the first day of Olympic competition in Vancouver!

Disappointed to learn of the alpine events cancelled, I was nonetheless excited about the competition in store for today–normal hill ski jump, men’s 5,000 meters speed skating, short track speed skating, biathlon, and women’s moguls.

But in honor of St. Valentine, whom some celebrate on Sunday, instead of a long-winded recap of yesterday’s events, I decided to make a list (in no specific order) of what I love thus far about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

1.  Gold medalist Simon Ammann of Switzerland and his exuberance over every Olympic ski jumping gold medal he has ever won.  He’s not afraid to be as excited as possible.  I love his giddy excitement, especially when it’s his third time around at the Winter Games.

2.  Apolo  Ohno graciously giving J.R. Celski his own time with NBC in a post-victory interview.  But before leaving, Ohno picked J.R. up and roared in celebration and pride over the young skater’s bronze medal.

3.  Crying parents/parents pride.  The sobbing Sven Kramer’s father following his son’s gold medal victory in the men’s 5,000 meters and J.R. Celski’s mother who was crying before the final race even began!

4.  J.R. Celski, Trevor Marsicano, and Chloe Dufour-Laponte.  I love watching young athletes with such promise perform well and how they show us glimpses of more to come in future Olympic Games .

5.  Team Canada’s record-breaking 18-0 victory over Slovakia.

6.  Luge athlete Anton Zoeggeler’s silver helmet.

7.  Apolo Ohno’s strategic move to the front of the pack during the men’s short track 1500 semi-final race.

8.  Hannah Kearney’s “Anime-style” pigtails emerging from the back of her helmet

9.  Speed skating fans from the Netherlands

10.  The Richmond Olympic Oval

Perhaps if NBC had shown decent coverage of the women’s 7.5 kilometer biathlon, I’m sure this event would have made my list.  Oh, NBC, you frustrate me so!

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

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The Men Who Fly: Ski Jumping

The desire to reach for the sky runs deep in our human psyche. ~Cesar Pelli

Human beings have always had a fascination with being airborne, whether in a plane, hot air balloon, or yes, even on skis.  This is why ski jumping is among the favorite events for viewers to watch during the Winter Olympics.  This year’s ski jumping events will not only entertain us with skiers flying through air, but could keep us on the edge of our seats with a close competition between some young, talented skiers!

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