Fifteen Athletes in Court to Fight for Right to Compete at 2010 Olympics

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 20, 2009 8:04 am

The battle for women’s ski jumping continues today, as 15 of the elite lady athletes will be heard in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, beginning at 10 a.m. The ski jumpers are suing the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the right to participate in the 2010 Olympic Games. Ski jumping is currently the only sport in the Olympic Winter Games not open to both men and women.

Lindsey Van, the first and current women’s ski jumping World Champion has been a force on the jump sites and off. Although she’s petite, she’s been outspoken about the athletes’ right to compete in the Olympics, yet felt no one ever meant to head to court over this issue. “Our bid to be at the Games is supported by FIS, our sport’s federation and yet we’ve been denied,” said Van.

As with most lawsuits, this one hasn’t been quick—or pretty. The plaintiff’s lawyer Ross Clark, Q.C., expects the hearing to last five days before a judge and will involve no witnesses. Documents submitted to the court by both sides are now available to the public.

“We are confident in our arguments,” Clark, a partner in Davis LLP’s Vancouver office, said.  “We will argue forcefully that VANOC is a government entity and must be required to uphold the Charter rights of these women to participate in 2010.”