Tag Archives: WSJ-USA

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.

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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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Filed under 2014 Sochi Olympics, Ski Jumping

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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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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Filed under Ski Jumping