Friday, February 12, 2010

Remember women ski jumpers during the Olympics

I'm sitting here watching the opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics. I love the Olympics, winter or summer. I'll watch as much of them as I can. But these Olympics are a little tainted for me.

As I've mentioned before, women ski jumpers have been trying (for years and years) to get their sport recognized by the Olympics. Men's ski jumping is an Olympic sport, but not women's ski jumping. Why? I don't know. There's a bunch of red-tape claims out there, about how there has to be a certain amount of world championships in said sport and a certain number of "big-name" athletes, blah blah blah.

Maybe it is as simple as that, but after reading this story in Time magazine, I don't think so.

It turns out, the person who holds the record for the longest jump off the ramp that was built for these 2010 Olympics is a woman -- American Lindsey Van (pictured). She has the record of everyone, men and women, and she doesn't get to compete on the biggest sports stage there is. Will she ever? Well, just read this quote from International Olympics Committee member Dick Pound (yes, that is his name) when asked if women ski jumping will be included in 2014:

"We'll have to wait and see. If in the meantime you're making all kinds of allegations about the IOC and how it's discriminating on the basis of gender, the IOC may say, 'Oh yeah, I remember them. They're the ones that embarrassed us and caused us a lot of trouble of trouble in Vancouver, maybe they should wait another four years or eight years.'"

You read that right. An IOC member actually said "if you say we're discriminating based on gender, then we will discriminate against those bitches." That's sure how I read that quote. He is actually threatening these women and the people who support their bid to get their sport in the Olympics. Keep your traps shut. Know your place. Then maybe we'll think about letting you compete.

Dick Pound, if you don't know anything about the Olympic spirit, or about something as simple as decency and fairness, you probably should resign from the IOC.

So, I'm still going to watch the Olympics, despite Dick Pound's unbelievable tone, because I love seeing sports we don't get to see often and I love learning about the athletes and their stories. Like Marjan Kalhor, Iran's first woman skier in the Olympics. Or alpine skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong from Ghana, who is that country's first winter Olympian. How can you not love that?

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