News / Europe

US Women's Ski Jumping Makes Olympic Debut

U.S. ski jumpers Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van speak to the media in Sochi, Feb. 10, 2014. (Parke Brewer/VOA)
U.S. ski jumpers Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van speak to the media in Sochi, Feb. 10, 2014. (Parke Brewer/VOA)
Parke Brewer
— Women's ski jumping is set to make its Olympic debut at the Sochi Winter Games in Russia. 

It's been a long, hard battle, but the women will finally get to display their talents.
 
Men have been gliding down the long, steep slippery ramps and into the air above specially sloped landing hills since the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924.
 
In recent years, female ski jumpers had waged an ongoing battle to get their sport into the Games. They had petitioned to join every Winter Olympics since 1998 in Nagano, Japan.  
 
One of the problems was that in 1991 when the International Olympic Committee decided that all future sports had to be open to both males and females, the ruling did not apply to existing sports. And many thought ski jumping was too dangerous for women and that there were not enough competitors.
 
As recently as 2006, the IOC said it had nothing to do with discrimination.  It just did not believe that women had enough technical skills.

So a group of top women ski jumpers filed a suit in 2008. But they lost their bid to get their sport included in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.  Four years later, they will officially take the stage.

Not only that, they will do it in dramatic fashion, vying for the gold medal under floodlights Tuesday night at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center in the mountains above Sochi.

U.S. ski jumpers Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van speak to the media in Sochi, Feb. 10, 2014. (Parke Brewer/VOA)U.S. ski jumpers Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van speak to the media in Sochi, Feb. 10, 2014. (Parke Brewer/VOA)
x
U.S. ski jumpers Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van speak to the media in Sochi, Feb. 10, 2014. (Parke Brewer/VOA)
U.S. ski jumpers Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van speak to the media in Sochi, Feb. 10, 2014. (Parke Brewer/VOA)
 The first world champion in the sport in 2009, American Lindsey Van, said now that the fight for inclusion is over, it's time for the fans to see what it's all about.  "You know I just want more people to see that women can ski jump. It's taken 90 years for women to be here, so check us out. I'm just thrilled to show ski jumping to the world and that women can do it too," she told reporters.
 
The undisputed favorite is Japan's Sara Takanashi, who is only 17 years old and stands just 150 centimeters tall. She has dominated the World Cup circuit over the past two seasons.  Reigning world champion, 19-year-old American Sarah Hendrickson who recently returned from a bad knee injury, admires how Takanashi deals with the expectations on her.
 
"I struggle with the pressure and how that affects my ski jumping and she just brushes it off like it's no problem, so I look up to her with that and the mental side of things. So I am expecting her to continue that through this event in Sochi and she's a very tough competitor," Hendrickson added.
 
For now, the women ski jumpers have only one event, the normal hill. American Jessica Jerome said she hopes they might eventually have three Olympic events like the men. "I know that with any new sport you are sort of taking baby steps and I really appreciate that we're here and that we have our one event," she explained. "And I really hope that in the future we have a big hill event and a team event."
 
At close to midnight Tuesday in Sochi, the first women's Olympic ski jump medalist will be crowned -- and make history.

Click here to see VOA's Winter Olympics site

Error rendering storify.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid