It’s no coincidence that the US Women’s Ski Jumping team started petitioning the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the right to compete in the Winter Olympics in the year 1998. After all, that’s the same year the IOC decided to add Curling instead. Yeah, I’d be ticked off too. No offense to curlers, but c’mon. I think ex-NBA basketball player, Charles Barkley, summed up my sentiments quite well yesterday when he said, “Curling is not a sport. I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics now.”
Admittedly, Curling takes skill and strategy. That’s why it’s been called “chess on ice” (please note that as of the time of this post, the IOC has refused to comment on whether or not it will consider chess for the Summer Olympics). I’d say that even cheerleading takes more athletic ability than curling, but I don’t want to insult cheerleaders.
Okay, so knocking one sport isn’t going to benefit the others. I get it. But, the IOC’s decision in 1998 to accept one sport over another justifies this scrutiny. The curlers are innocent. But the IOC is not.
Everyone knows ski jumping is a viable Olympic sport. We know this because men have been jumping in the Olympic games since the very first Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Yet, ski jumping remains the only Winter sport where women are unable to compete for medals like their male counterparts. And that is a tragedy.
Rather than admit discrimination, the IOC argues that women’s ski jumping does not have enough participation or countries with women’s teams or world-class competitions to warrant official status in the Games. Um, but the gal ski jumpers have more competitors than women’s bobsled, snowboard cross, or ski cross did when they were sanctioned. I smell a rat.
Female ski jumpers deserve official status because they’ve earned it in their own right. But, if that doesn’t work out, they’ve still got another four years to switch over to Curling.