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The long wait for women's ski jumping is over

2011-04-08 05:57:00 AIPS

OSLON, April 7, 2011 - Exactly 100 years after comtesse Paula von Lamberg of Austria showed the first known female ski jump to the international public of 22 meter in Kitzbuhel, the IOC board on Wednesday approved female ski jumping in the program of 2014 Olympic winter games.

World champion Lindsey Van of USA termed the move ‘exciting and relieving at the same time’.

During the last two decades female jumpers have been fighting to be acknowledged by their own federation, the International Ski Federation (FIS). Slowly they have been allowed to use the hills around the world; then they also got the continental cup series and junior world championship.

Two years ago Lindsey Van was crowned the first ever gold medal winner during the Czech Liberec world championship 2007.

Last winter the women reached another big milestone at the new built Holmenkollen arena where Austrian Daniela Iraschko could enter the top of the podium receiving her well-deserved gold medal.

But still women were not allowed at the arena of the big boys. While the best jumpers of the world could enjoy the newly- built world famous tower of the Holmenkollen hill, the female jumpers had to compete at the nearby normal hill in Midtstuen.

During the AIPS congress in Seoul two weeks ago the vice president of the Sochi Olympic organization committee Igor Stolyarov was asked if they had any opinion about female ski jumping in the Sochi program.

“We are working with it and have had several discussions with the IOC about this case. But at the end this will be a decision of the IOC board”, Stolyarov answered.

The decision was given faster than anyone could imagine. The female athletes who went to the Supreme Court in Vancouver to fight for what they meant should be an easy part of equalizing of the genders, eventually got the answer they had fought for during many years.

“ This is a great day for all of us. This is a victory for years of struggle for me and for our sport”, stated Anette Sagen who has fronted the fight against the federations at the same time as she won five continental cups in a row and earned 12 Norwegian championships in ski jumping.

Team figure skating, team sledging, biathlon mixed relay and halfpipe freestyle were approved in the Sochi program as well.

Female ski jumping records:

1911: 22 meter, comtesse Paula von Lamberg, AUT

1926: 26 meter, Olga Balstad Eggen, NOR

1931: 32 meter, Johanne Kolstad, NOR

1932: 71,5 meter, Johanne Kolstad, NOR

1937: 72 meter, Johanne Kolstad, NOR

1972: 74 meter, Anita Wold, NOR

1976: 82,5 meter, Anita Wold, NOR

1981: 110 meter, Tiina Lehtalo, FIN

1994: 113,5 meter, Eva Ganster, AUT

1997: 167 meter, Eva Ganster, AUT

2003: 200 meter, Daniela Iraschko, AUT

By Rolf Arne Odiin, Chairman AIPS Nordic Ski & Biathlon Commission

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