Sexism: Olympics style.

(cross posted at kickin it with cg)

Since we are now full on in the Summer Olympic games in Bejing, now is the perfect time to discuss a hot issue here in Canada.  Namely Women's Ski Jumping in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

In November 2006, the International Olympic Committee rejected the inclusion of women's ski jumping for the Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010. IOC President Jacques Rogge stated that only 80 women were competing in the sport and including it in the 2010 Games would dilute the value of medals won in other events.

Nearly all Olympic sports have both a men's and women's event, but the International Olympic Committee always has exempted ski jumping to let it be a male-only competition.  The IOC says its decision not to include women's ski jumping at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is based on technical merit and isn't discriminatory.

However a coalition of international women ski jumpers filed a lawsuit against the Vancouver Organizing Committee in May challenging this decision. They argue that the women have been discriminated against because the Games allow only men's ski jumping. "The failure to include women's ski jumping events in the Games violates every woman's right to equal benefit under the law," according to the lawsuit filed in British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver.

In order to be considered for inclusion in the Olympic Games, a sport must have held at least two world championships. The first women's ski jumping world championships will be held this year in Liberec, Czech Republic.  

But some say the IOC is using the technical merit justification as an excuse.  Supporters of women's ski jumpers argue there are 135 women ski jumpers in 16 countries. This compares to other sports already in the Games like snowboard cross, which has 34 women from 10 countries, skier cross, which has 30 women from 11 nations, and bobsled, which has 26 women from 13 nations.  They also argue that women's marathon was added to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles after a single world championship in 1983.  

Of note, is that the Canadian Government is fully supportive of the lawsuit and "would try to convince the IOC to include women's ski jumping at the Vancouver Games." David Emerson, Canada's federal minister responsible for the 2010 Games, said it's "extremely disappointing" women are not being allowed to ski jump at the Olympics.

"Ski jumping is an important sport and we're investing a lot in jumping and training facilities in Canada and to not have women able to participate on the same basis as men, to me, I just don't think it's right."

Deedee Corradini, who was the mayor of Salt Lake City when that city won the right to host the 2002 Winter Games, noted $580 million of Canadian taxpayers money has helped the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee (VANOC) build Olympic facilities.

"My understanding is it's against federal and provincial law in Canada to spend government money on facilities that discriminate," Corradini told a news conference Saturday at the Canadian ski jumping championships.

"To have a men's only sign on these ski jumps seems to be discriminatory and contrary to Canada's own human rights act."

Additionally a group of Canadian women ski jumpers have filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Right Commission, arguing the Olympic movement is discriminating against them.

While Corradini and members of the Canadian ski team are vocal in their dissent, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association is taking a more diplomatic tact.

The association is the governing body for ski sports in the U.S., including jumping. Tom Kelly, vice-president of communication, refused to say if he thought women were being discriminated against.

"We have great respect for the process the IOC has for bringing the sport into the Olympics.  We were disappointed when the IOC made it's decision (on 2010.)  We are very optimistic for 2014. The first world championships will be held next year and that is a critical event in the growth of the sport. When we get to the world championships, and the world sees what these women can do, that is a great message to send to the IOC."

As 16 year-old ski jumper Zora Lynch says"It's not about the competition between the sports. It's about gender equality and that kind of stuff."

Tags: 2010, Olympics, sexism, vancouver (all tags)




we love our winter sports in canada with a side of equality.

by canadian gal 2008-08-20 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

Yeah, this seems ridiculous.  I don't really understand what the IOC is getting out of taking a stand on this issue.  The rationale about diluting the value of medals seems like total BS and this kind of publicity can't be good.  Gender equality really should be a principle they are looking to actively uphold.

by Fuzzy Dunlop 2008-08-20 07:37PM | 0 recs
couldn't agree more. n/t

by canadian gal 2008-08-20 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

In general, if you have a mens event, there's really no reason not to have a female equivalent.

I'm watching USA/China in the women's volleyball final. It's just as exciting as the men's. There haven't been a lot of times when a women's event was significantly less exciting (basketball is the only one that comes to mind, to be honest).

I'd finish the thought, but gold medal point. BRB.

by TCQuad 2008-08-20 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

U-S-A! U-S-A! Woo!

That was fun. That was close by May/Walsh standards. 21-18, 21-18. Those two haven't lost a match (or even a set) in two Olympics.

by TCQuad 2008-08-20 07:47PM | 0 recs
women's basketball less about strength

more about tactics and strategy.

depends on waht you're looking for.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-21 05:38AM | 0 recs
Re: women's basketball less about strength

Actual conversation during the NBA playoffs with my softball teammates before a game:

Me: "I'm hoping Celtics/Lakers. I mean... Spurs/Pistons? I don't think anyone would want to see that."
Guys: (agreement)
Girl from Detriot: "I would!"
Me: "Well, OK, but you're from Michigan, so you've got a rooting interest. For everyone else... If you want to watch boring, choppy, fundamental basketball, you can just watch the WNBA."
Guys: (chuckling agreement)
Girl from Detroit: "I like the WNBA."
Me: "... I think you just proved my point."

by TCQuad 2008-08-21 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

Very interesting, CG.  I'd hate to, you know, dilute those other people's medals.  It actually sort of reminds me of the way gay marriage is supposed to weaken straight peoples' marriages.

I remember in college there were always issues because Title IX requires gender equity in terms of athletic scholarships and stuff.  That's been great for the growth of sports like women's ice hockey (which I'd love my daughter to play, but my wife is less enthused).  One problem is that in practice, because of limited budgeting, often the effect of Title IX is that they have to eliminate men's sports, rather than adding women's sports, which obviously doesn't help anyone.  Another issue is that it's very hard to equalize scholarships because the sport with the most scholarships, by far, is football, and there is no female equivalent.  But on the whole things continue moving in the right direction.

by Steve M 2008-08-20 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

What dilutes the value of medals is the numerous obscure sports recognized by the Olympics, not permitting women to compete in the same sports as men.

by rfahey22 2008-08-20 07:56PM | 0 recs

instead of allowing women to compete - why not add snow horseshoe shooting? (no offense to snow horseshoe shooters)

by canadian gal 2008-08-20 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: seriously...

Only if we get synchronized ice fishing as part of the deal.

by rfahey22 2008-08-20 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

"As 16 year-old ski jumper Zora Lynch says "It's not about the competition between the sports. It's about gender equality and that kind of stuff."

And that kind of stuff!  You go girl!

Sounds like my daughter.


by WashStateBlue 2008-08-20 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

Not to mention that softball has been eliminated from the summer Olympics, effective after this year. They say that the U.S. women's dominance since it became a medal sport is part of the reason. Because, of course, there was never a time when the U.S. wasn't similarly dominating men's basketball before the world caught up.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-08-20 09:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

yeah im pretty bummed about that too.  there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the IOC decisions

by canadian gal 2008-08-20 09:18PM | 0 recs
Baseball has been eliminated also.

I don't think the softball elimination is a gender issue.

by d 2008-08-21 06:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.


by spacemanspiff 2008-08-20 09:47PM | 0 recs
can't tell you how happy

i am to see my spacey here!

by canadian gal 2008-08-20 10:05PM | 0 recs
Spectacular diary!

As 16 year-old ski jumper Zora Lynch says "It's not about the competition between the sports. It's about gender equality and that kind of stuff."

Awesome sentiments.

by sricki 2008-08-20 09:53PM | 0 recs
If it wasnt for Phelps

I would not have even known the Olympics was on.  I file it under things a large % of the world cares about but I dont, like the World Cup.  

I think men and women should compete with eachother, just go by weight classes for the sports, and have a real competition. That I would watch, as it stands, I would rather watch reruns of Law and Order that I have already seen 3 times a piece then watch 5 minutes of this Chinese propaganda disguised as a sporting event.

by Brandon 2008-08-20 10:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

IOC President Jacques Rogge stated that only 80 women were competing in the sport and including it in the 2010 Games would dilute the value of medals won in other events.
Perfectly reasonable.  I can see why he'd be afraid.  I mean, look at the historical precedent.  To name but one example, the women's suffrage movement significantly diluted the value of votes cast by men.

by semiquaver 2008-08-20 10:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

I certainly think every male sport should have a female counterpart.

Stateside, I've always thought part of the Title IX problems could be alleviated by having women's football.  If you have players play offense and defense, you could have 33-40 scholarships and you could find ways to finesse the travel issue.  If you could add football and cut fewer men's sports, that would be a win/win.

There is men's and women's hockey (at my college women's hockey was more popular than men's), men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's ski jump as CG astutely points out.  So I don't think the physicality issue is an excuse to not give it a try.

by AZphilosopher 2008-08-20 11:05PM | 0 recs
Never happen

Title nine is good, because if it did not exist the market would kill many womens programs because of lack of interest.   A clear example is the WNBA, which is a failing league but is subsidized by the NBA.  Currently, if someone actually wanted to have womens football, ignoring the fact that it would do horribly, they would take it from other womens sports, not men's sports.

There is also no infastructure for womens football in highschool, making it even less attractive.  There is zero reason to throw money down that rat hole.

"If you could add football and cut fewer men's sports, that would be a win/win." Wont happen, women sports would be cut for it.  

by Brandon 2008-08-20 11:28PM | 0 recs
It is kinda silly.

If they are unwilling to add the womens event they should change the mens event to Open so men or women could participate.

Currently Women have fewer events then Men, so it would not be unbalancing to add a womens event.

I was going to disagree with you, because I tend to watch more womens events then mens at the Olympics. I thought the total number of events was balanced, but after looking it up I see that it is not.

by Tumult 2008-08-21 12:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

Have you noticed the abundance of sexist -- even exploitative --  advertising on this site?

by Glaurung 2008-08-21 01:36AM | 0 recs
Let the women jump!

As a Norwegian I am absolutely nuts about the Winter Games.  Vastly more intriguing than the Summer Games, though they are very exciting as well. (My birth country of 4.6 million has more winter medals than any other country in the world, including Canada, US, and FSU+Russia; indulge me, it's my one point of jingoism).

That I cannot afford to attend the '10 games hurts deeply, especially as Vancouver is my favorite city in North America and very nearly the world.

There is no justification for denying women the opportunity to participate in an Olympic event for which there are enough competitors.  None.  End of story.

Let the women jump!

by Trond Jacobsen 2008-08-21 05:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Sexism: Olympics style.

Come on... if they give out medals for Curling, surely it's hard to argue that the value of medals would be diluted by awarding them to women ski jumpers! ;-)

On a more technical note, I assume that women are well behind the men in terms of their distances right now since so few have been training for it but theoretically is there a reason why women could not compete against men if there were parity in access and training?

by CA Pol Junkie 2008-08-21 08:28AM | 0 recs


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