Monday, December 29, 2008

Making a long leap into Herstory

We probably should have covered this by now. The battle of female ski jumpers to get into the Olympics seems like something OOLF should be all over.

So, it's with guilt that I come to the party a bit late tonight.

For those unaware a law suit was filled in B.C. in May compelling VANOC to include women's ski jumping in the 2010 Olympics. The women jumpers say that if they can't jump in the Games, neither should the men (which isn't the best approach at trying to bring male athletes to their side, but it's their fight and they'll do it how they please).

It's a Charter issue, the jumpers say. They claim that their exclusion is in violation of a woman's right to equal benefit under the law. That's guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights.

For its part VANOC says the women are going after the wrong people. It's putting on a Games that are sanctioned by the IOC. It can't just go adding events.

Both sides have a point.

The IOC is not the most progressive organization. It took a long time for it to add many women's sports. For years females weren't permitted to run distances longer than 800m (because of the delicateness, you see). Anyone that took gym class prior to 1990ish has likely heard how the triple jump is bad for women's reproduction organs. One tries to understand that you have to view history through the thinking of the time, but, at times, the stupidity can be staggering.

The IOC says it is keeping the female jumpers out because there is not enough depth in the field to ensure a proper competition. Putting aside the fact that one way to increase the depth of field is to make it an Olympic sport, keep in mind that women's hockey is still on the schedule.

At any rate, the court case is not likely to do much more than (try to) embarrass the IOC (its members are pretty shameless though). But that doesn't mean this battle is done yet.

We've been late to the discussion, but we will be following this one a lot closer as the Games just 14-months away.

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