Women to appeal ski jump lawsuit loss

Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:16pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A group of female ski jumpers said on Thursday they will appeal a court ruling that dismissed their bid to force Olympic organizers to let them compete in next year's Winter Games in Vancouver.

The women said they believe the British Columbia Court of Appeal will be able to act quickly enough for women's ski jumping to be included in the 2010 Games, which are scheduled to begin in February.

The 15 women sued the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), alleging that the failure to have both women's and men's ski jumping competitions in the 2010 Games violated Canadian civil rights protections.

Ski jumping is one of the few Olympic sports that does not have competitions for both men and women.

A judge agreed with VANOC that Canadian organizers did not have the authority to overturn a decision by the International Olympic Committee, although the court also agreed with the women that they were being unfairly discriminated against.

"We were so disheartened by last week's decision, but we're competitors, we won't give up," said Katie Willis, a Canadian ski jumper.

The IOC says that not enough women compete at ski jumping internationally for it to qualify as an Olympic sport, and denies the women's accusation that its decision is based on sexism.

(Reporting by Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)