Lindsey Van and Women’s Ski Jumper File Appeal Argument

Posted By: Steve Bellamy on August 25, 2009 9:06 pm

And so the saga continues.  These girls are not backing down. It doesn’t seem like the other side is feeling the love either.  Today lawyers for Lindsey Van and her thirteen elite Women’s ski jumpers pointed out that it is the court’s duty to make sure the hosting of the 2010 Olympic Games complies with the charter or declare it invalid if it does not.  Their arguments were filed with the BC Court of Appeal today.

 “We are not asking the Court to determine which sports are to be included in the Olympics – that is not its role, nor is it VANOC’s,” Ross Clark, Q.C., a partner at the Vancouver office of Davis LLP, explained.  “But it is for the Court to see that the hosting of the Games, and in particular the ski jumping events, complies with the Charter.”

When read on face value, it certainly seems like the women’s ski jumpers have a crystal clear case.  A token bone has been thrown when it was agreed the girls ski jumping would be institued as a precursor to a potential women’s 2014 ski jumping event.  Not enough for Lindsey Van and company.

Clark also stated that there were key errors in judgement on behalf of the BC Supreme Court and that is the basis for the appeal. 

“The lower court judge found VANOC is carrying out a governmental activity in hosting the Olympics; that the hosting of ski jumping events for the Games is a benefit of the law; that VANOC is hosting ski jumping for men but not for women and this means the women are being discriminated against,” he said.  “We absolutely agree on those points.  But she failed to understand our position and the relief sought.  She considered whether the Court could order VANOC to host an Olympic ski jumping event for women and proceeded from there. 

“This was critically wrong.  We acknowledge VANOC doesn’t have the authority to do that without direction from the IOC,” Clark pointed out. “Our position has always been that since the Charter prohibits VANOC from hosting an unconstitutional ski jumping event – one with men only – VANOC must refuse to do so.”