Women ski jumpers lose appeal
November 15, 2009
Women ski jumpers’ hopeful day in court ended in bitter disappointment Friday when a British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed their bid to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
After two days of hearing arguments from the women’s lawyers as well as those representing the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee (VANOC), a three-judge panel dismissed the athletes’ case shortly after the appeal hearing ended on Friday afternoon.
Local jumpers Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome and Women’s Ski Jumping USA president Deedee Corradini were present for the hearing and subsequent decision.
"It was like a bombshell hit the courtroom," Corradini said in an interview on Tuesday. "We were in a state of shock. We just stood there dumbfounded."
The athletes, who filed a gender discrimination suit against VANOC in May 2008, were appealing a lower court ruling that although VANOC is subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is not, and therefore the court cannot order the inclusion of a women’s event.
Corradini and Van had both expressed optimism Friday morning that the court would rule in favor of the women. "All day Thursday and all day Friday, all of us that were in the courtroom – including our lawyers and the media – were feeling as though everything was going our way," Corradini said. "The line of questioning always seemed to be in our favor."
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The judges are expected to release a formal statement outlining their decision by the end of the week. Corradini said she was not sure whether the judges’ decision is based on agreeing with the lower court or on other aspects of the case.
There is still an option for the athletes to appeal the case to the Canadian Supreme Court, although there are now less than 90 days until the start of the Games.
"Once we see what the rationale is and think through all of our options, we’ll go through a pretty thorough analysis and make a decision as to what our next step is going to be," Corradini said.
"I’m still kind of numb," she said. "It’s hard for something like this to sink in because it’s so unjust for these women. It’s just not fair."