Women ski jumpers can't compete in 2010

Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:50pm EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A Canadian judge has rejected a bid by female ski jumpers to compete in next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but agreed they were being discriminated against.

The International Olympic Committee is discriminating against the women by barring them from the 2010 Games, but that decision cannot be challenged under Canada's civil rights laws, the court ruled on Friday.

"There will be little solace to the plaintiffs in my finding that they have been discriminated against; there is no remedy available to them in this court," British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon said.

Ski jumping has been an Olympic sport since 1924, but is one of the few events in either the Winter or Summer Games to not have both a men's and women's competition. All new sports allowed into the Games must have both.

The IOC has refused to sanction women's ski jumping in the Games, arguing that not enough women are competing in the sport worldwide for it to qualify as an Olympic event.

Friday's court ruling comes after a group of 15 current and former international women ski jumpers sued the Vancouver Organizing Committee on the grounds that, as the host and organizer of the 2010 Games, VANOC was required to abide by Canadian law.

The women did not name the IOC in the suit, acknowledging that the committee, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, was not directly bound by Canadian civil rights laws.


<p>Nata de Leeuw of Canada soars through the air during the women's HS 100 ski jumping competition at the Nordic World Championships in Liberec February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger</p>