[http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/73199329.jpg]Ski jumping has been an Olympic sport since 1927 and it is among the events most watched on television at the Winter Games. Yet it, and the companion Nordic Combined event, which involves jumping and cross-country skiing, are the only two Winter Olympic sports that still bar women.
It is not that women's ski jumping is a novelty. Tens of thousands of women around the world are involved in the sport. The International Ski Federation (FIS) has ranked more than 140 female ski jumpers. There are 22 events held on three continents in eight major ski jumping nations, including the US, Japan, Norway, Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Canada. In this country one quarter of ski jumping Canada's 80 competition-level athletes are women.
While the International Olympic Committee is eager to have gender equity in all sports, officials said women's jumping hasn't yet been fully established, noting that the first world championships in the event aren't scheduled until 2009.
"It's still not ready," IOC vice-president Gunilla Lindberg said. "In our analysis, there are not enough athletes and not enough countries. They have to work with the international ski federation and Nordic combined to be ready for 2014."
However, the IOC stressed it would closely monitor the progress of women's ski jumping "with a view of its inclusion in future Olympic Games."
Canada's female ski jumping team is launching a human rights complaint in an effort to change rules that prevent them from competing in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.