Academy Award-nominated actress chronicles ski jumpers' fight

Virginia Madsen had her son in mind when she agreed to produce adocumentary about women ski jumpers fighting to participate in the 2010Olympics.

 

Virginia Madsen had her son in mind when she agreed to produce a documentary about women ski jumpers fighting to participate in the 2010 Olympics.

 

“When he was a very little boy (it) delighted me that there were just as many cartoons with female super heroes as there were with male superheroes,” Madsen told Metro Vancouver Monday.

 

“I thought, ‘Wow. Boys and girls are growing up to view each other on an equal playing ground.’ That’s something that my generation had to fight for.”

 

But when Madsen told her son that female jumpers weren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics, he couldn’t understand why — and she couldn’t justify it.

“He finds it just as outrageous as women do,” she said.

The Academy Award-nominated actress’ production company Title IX is producing Fighting Gravity, which will follow 15 female jumpers as they fight VANOC in a lawsuit demanding they be included in 2010.

Filmmakers were in Vancouver last month when four of the women, including Whistler’s Zoya Lynch, sat in B.C. Supreme Court as their lawyer argued their case.

They were also in the Czech Republic in February when American jumper Lindsey Van — a plaintiff in the lawsuit against VANOC — became the first world champion in women’s ski jumping.

Footage in Fighting Gravity includes Van learning to jump as a little girl and announcing she wants to compete in the Olympics when she grows up.

“I love the Olympics. I follow (them) as much as I follow the Oscars because … what I feel in common with (the athletes) is a dream that’s almost unattainable,” Madsen said.

“They look just like I did, they have that same fire and excitement. When I was growing up a lot of people told me I was crazy (for wanting to be an actress), and I thought, ‘You can’t say that to me.’”

Madsen said in a way this is a fight that belongs to all women.

“I don’t want to think about how it will feel if they get turned away. But as much as they (may be) outraged, they’re going to keep (jumping) whether someone lets them or not.”

“Time may not be on their side for these Olympics but it’s on the side of women’s sports.”

 
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