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

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid