Friday, June 06, 2008

Ski jumping's past as lens on present

The Globe and Mail ran an excellent editorial by a Canadian athlete on the ski jumping controversy that continued last week when a group of mostly non-Canadian female jumpers filed suit against the Vancouver Olympic Committee.
Though Laura Robinson does not think the suit will get very far because VANOC is not really the group that, in the end, is preventing the women from competing--it's the IOC--she doesn't really let VANOC or Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) off the hook. Because she sees VANOC's and the COC's protestations that they support women's ski jumping as ringing on the hollow side.
...this practice of claiming great sympathy for the rights of women, while at the same time declaring one's hands are tied, is tedious and irritatingly predictable.
Robinson shares the history of women's ski jumping to show that those whose hands are currently tied had plenty of time--about eight decades to get on board with women's ski jumping. Because, yes, it has a history that goes back further than one might think just listening to the various IOC members who oppose the sport's inclusion. Women were jumping at the same time the men were allowed to jump in the Olympics, 1924. Robinson does an excellent job chronicling women's past accomplishments in umping as well as the backlash against women's sports in general and the more current fights female athletes have had to wage just to get a chance to play.
It is hard to imagine that the Canadian Olympic Committee and organizations such as VANOC can't understand sport history. It is a history filled with discrimination against women - it's their job to change that, not perpetuate it.
And yet as hard as it is to imagine it's just so easy to see everywhere you look.

No comments: