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Area jumper takes fight to court

The discipline, drive and focus they learned as athletes have helped prepare 15 female ski jumpers for their fight to be included in the 2010 Olympics, a Calgary jumper said.

The discipline, drive and focus they learned as athletes have helped prepare 15 female ski jumpers for the their fight to be included in the 2010 Olympics, two of the jumpers said.

Lawyers representing the women will present their opening arguments in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday in a lawsuit that claims VANOC has violated their rights to equality by only allowing male athletes to compete in 2010.

American jumper Lindsey Van, who is a plaintiff in the case and the current world champion, said training to be a world-class athlete has prepared her to take on any fight.

“You learn mental toughness to be competitive, and it’s the same thing in this situation,” Van said.

“It’s a historic thing that’s happening in our sport and it’s important to be (in Vancouver on Monday). If it doesn’t work out at least we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that we actually tried.”

Calgary jumper Katie Willis, 17, another plaintiff in the case, said athletes have to be assertive and confident to succeed, and that she’s approaching the lawsuit as she would a competition.

“It’s just another obstacle to overcome,” Willis said. “We know we’ll get there eventually, and that we’ll be pioneers.”

“As I grow up I see men and women becoming more and more equal … and it’s important for me that the first time (women ski jumpers compete in the Olympics) be in Canada.”

The IOC said there wouldn’t be athletes competing in 2010, and they wouldn’t have participated in enough world championships beforehand, to justify including a women’s component in the Games.

 
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