Two female ski jumpers suing to participate in the Vancouver Olympics flew to Colorado yesterday to try to plead their case with the president of the International Olympic Committee while he’s in Denver.
Jacques Rogge ignored the meeting request.
Canadian national team member Katie Willis said yesterday she hoped meeting with Rogge might change the IOC’s decision to bar female jumpers from the 2010 Games.
“We decided this would be a good last chance,” said Willis, 17, who is among 15 plaintiffs suing VANOC. “All these girls deserve to be in the Olympics and … it’s really important for me to be a part of (this fight).”
The jumpers are suing VANOC — not the IOC — alleging the committee is violating their rights to equality by not allowing them to compete in the Games.
In 2006, the IOC voted not to allow women’s ski jumping in 2010, saying the sport doesn’t have enough international competitions to merit inclusion.
The athletes sent a letter to Rogge asking for a meeting while he was in Denver, but never heard back.
“I’m pretty anxious. I was really looking forward to meeting with him,” said Willis. “I think if he actually met us personally … he would be able to understand our point of view a little better.”
World champion and American national team member Lindsey Van joined Willis in Denver, and said the sport has changed over the three years.
“The number of women competing has soared, as has the number of countries participating,” said Van.
“In fact, we out-number women in sports like bobsleigh, luge, ski-cross and snowboard cross, which are already in the Olympics.”
Ski jumping is the only event in the Winter Olympics that does not allow women to compete.