Two of the 15 women suing VANOC in a bid for a women’s ski jumping competition at the 2010 Games issued a public plea Wednesday for a meeting with IOC President Jacques Rogge.
World champion Lindsey Van of Park City, Utah, and Katie Willis of Calgary, Alberta said during a news conference that they faxed and couriered a letter to Rogge on March 20 but received no reply. Rogge is in the Mile High City for IOC executive board meetings during the Sportaccord convention.
"We believe that women's ski jumping is ready," said their letter. "Our hope is that you will allow us one K-90 event in Vancouver to avoid taking matters into court."
VANOC is the target of a British Columbia Supreme Court gender discrimination trial scheduled April 20-24. In 2006, the IOC chose to add only skicross to Vancouver 2010. Rogge declined to comment on the matter at a Feb. 11 news conference in Whistler because the matter is before the courts.
Van, 24, said the sport boasts 160 athletes from 18 countries who compete regularly and claims more athletes than bobsledding, luge, skicross and snowboardcross. She said the future of women’s ski jumping is at stake. Without a chance to compete at the Olympics, athlete funding is in jeopardy.
"(Sponsors are) just going to fund sports that are able to get Olympic medals," Van said. "If it's not in the Olympics, the top level of women's ski jumpers are going to quit and the sport is going to go backwards."
Willis, 17, and four of her Canadian teammates announced March 6 they would join the lawsuit after receiving none of the promised support by the Canadian government to lobby the IOC.
"It's very disappointing and it's hard to take, we put our lives into this, we are so dedicated, we really want to be at the Olympics," Willis said. "The judge will hopefully give us the decision we want."
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