Van tells The Ski Channel that IOC President Rogge acts out of spite

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on October 8, 2009 2:01 pm

Dick Pound, Canada’s IOC member, insinuated that Canada would never be able to host another Olympics if the B.C. Court of Appeal orders the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee to stage a female ski jumping event.

“This is a very important point. We would screw Canada’s chances of ever getting major events again,” Pound told the Vancouver Sun. “Like the Olympics again some day.”

A possible Canada Olympic blackballing (according to one IOC member, Pound) has now been tied to a landmark gender discrimination case involving Lindsey Van and other women ski jumpers.   Even if the B.C. Court rules again in favor of the lady jumpers, the IOC has said it will not recognize the results or hand out medals.

“I’m not surprised they said that at all, not even a little bit,” Van told The Ski Channel in an interview today.

A lower court ruled back in July that the IOC was discriminating against the jumpers, but that it could not order VANOC to put on the event.  The lady jumpers case is now on appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal.  The earliest the court could rule by is November 12, which is highly unlikely.  Observers are expecting the three-judge panel to take several months before announcing a decision.

The IOC disputes any claims of discrimination and has made the step of including women’s jumping in the Youth Olympic Games in 2012, seen as a first step in its eventual inclusion at the 2014 Winter Games.

Many attempts have been made by the lady jumpers to meet with IOC President Jacques Rogge.  “He wouldn’t meet with us,” Van said.  Communication has been through letters back-and-forth between the two parties, “where he just regurgitates the same answers as before without real answers to our questions,” according to Van.

The real answer Van seeks is “for him (Rogge) to define the technical merit we’re not meeting.  We don’t even know what it is.”

Rogge has continually reiterated that the women have not achieved the necessary “technical merit,” but, to Van and other lady jumpers, has yet to define what that merit is.  Van holds the record for the longest jump, by man or woman, on the normal hill at the Whistler Olympic venue.

While this story is garnering a massive amount of media attention, currently there are three different production companies making documentaries about the women’s plight, Van is more concerned with the now.   “Our team has very little funding to even make a full season of compeition.  It’s a day-to-day thing at this point.”  The U.S. Ski Team, facing a budget crunch, cut funding to the women’s ski jumping program when it became clear the women would not be allowed to compete in Vancouver.

As for the dimming of an Olympic dream?  “It’s definitely out of my hands,” Van lamented.  “He (Rogge) is just doing this to spite us.  No mater what happens, he’s just going to keeep saying ‘no’ because he can.”

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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