A judge will ultimately decide whether the omission of women’s ski jumping from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees equality of sexes when it comes to federal funding for sport.
The discrimination suit will be heard by a B.C. Supreme Court Judge on April 20, but it’s not clear what the outcome will be if the judge sides with the jumpers.
Women’s ski jumping was rejected by the International Olympic Committee at their last congress, but the IOC said it would continue to look at the development of the sport to include it in the future. They IOC says there are not enough countries or jumpers participating, or a recognized international World Cup tour or world championship — something that the jumpers deny. They argue that the IOC has overlooked its own qualifying requirements for sports several times over the years to allow the inclusion of events like women’s bobsleigh, women’s snowboardcross and women’s ski cross into the Games, and could do so again for ski jumping. As well, they point to 99 women ski jumpers representing 15 countries on the Centennial Cup tour last season, more participation than other sports that have been approved by the IOC in the past.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee has said that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t apply to the International Olympic Committee, and that VANOC is bound to the rules set by the IOC.
The lawyer representing the jumpers has rejected that argument, saying that VANOC could add the sport if it chose.
The ski jumpers made the court date announcement at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Tuesday, timing it to coincide with the international press briefing on the 2010 Games featuring over 250 reporters from around the world.
The hearing is expected to take one week.
Skeleton athletes chosen
The pre-season for skeleton has wrapped up after three selection events in Whistler, Calgary and Lake Placid, and this week Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton announced its team for the coming World Cup season.
On the men’s side the team will be led by Jeff Pain, who will be joined by Paul Boehm and Jon Montgomery. The women’s team will be led by Melissa Hollingsworth, with Michelle Kelly and Sarah Reid rounding out the team.
The selection races were set up to mimic the World Cup, and the sliders cumulative times counted for their selection. Pain and Hollingworth were the top skeleton athletes after the three contests.
The teams will be racing here again as the Whistler Sliding Centre hosts a World Cup event Feb. 2-7.
The season-opener is Nov. 25-30 in Winterberg, Germany.
Quest hosts Douglas for double-header
Quest University, which officially entered the B.C. Colleges’ Athletic Association in basketball, is hosting back to back home games against Douglas College this weekend, and inviting the community to come out and support the Kermodes.
In the women’s division, Quest is currently ranked seventh out of 10 teams after three weeks, with one win and two losses on the season — both losses at the hands of the second place Vancouver Island University Mariners. Douglas also has a record of 1-2 this season, but with a slightly better points for-points against ratio.
The men’s team is winless in three games to rank last, but have a chance of improving their standings against seventh place Douglas.
The games are on Friday, Nov. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 22. Women play at 6 p.m. both nights, and the men take to the court at 8 p.m.
Carving the Future to recruit para-alpine prospects
This week Alpine Canada announced plans to hold a series of para-alpine skiing events across the country this winter to encourage more people in the disabled community to take up the sport.
“The goal of each event is to reach as far as possible into the disability community as we increase awareness, knowledge, and hopefully participation in para-alpine ski racing,” said Jean-Francois Rapatel, high performance director for the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team.
Participating resorts are Wentworth in Nova Scotia (Jan. 30-Feb. 1), Asessippi Ski Area in Manitoba (Feb. 21-22), as well as events in Ontario and Quebec. The final event will be held during the Telus Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Championships at Sun Peak in March.
More information on the program is available at www.carvingthefuture.ca.