USA ski jumper Jessica Jerome competing in the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, December 2013
When the XXII Winter Olympics begin next month in Sochi, Russia, 12 new events will make their debut. For the first time, women athletes will “go for the gold” in ski jumping, flying at freeway speeds for football-field distances. It is largely thanks to a group of young women from the United States and their parents that this event will be featured. They waged a 15-year legal battle to gain inclusion for women on the world’s biggest sports stage, alongside their male counterparts. The event came close to having its inaugural Olympics in 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, but landed short. In 2009 then-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge said, “They’re not ready for it,” though he admitted “that will change in the future.” Two years later, the IOC announced that women would compete in ski jumping for the first time in Sochi.
Among the women who will make up the first-ever contingent of female ski jumpers to compete for Olympic Gold is Jessica Jerome, ten-time U.S. national champion. She helped advocate for the sport by testifying in court even when she would rather have been on the slopes. Jerome, who captured first place in the Olympic trials last month in her hometown of Park City, Utah, will lead the Team USA women. Announcement of the full roster is expected on January 22. It will likely also include Lindsey Van, winner of the first-ever women’s ski jumping event in 2009, and Sarah Hendrickson, the current World Champion.
The Winter Games are scheduled to begin in Sochi, on the eastern Black Sea coast on the southern side of the Caucasus Mountains in southwestern Russia, on February 6. Although ski jumping has been a Winter Olympic event from the beginning, until now it has been an male-only affair. There have been plenty of competitions in women’s ski jumping, however. The 2013 World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, featured athletes from 14 countries, with jumpers from Japan, Austria, and Germany finishing in the top four.
Image credit: © Ragnar Singsaas/Getty Images
- Women Are Finally Cleared for Flight in Sochi
This article tells how advocacy by Americans led to the inclusion of women’s ski jumping in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
(Source: TheWorld.org, December 30, 2013)
- Jerome Wins, Makes History on Way to Sochi
This report describes Jessica Jerome’s first-place finish in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
(Source: Women’s Ski Jumping USA, December 29, 2013)
- Ready to Fly: A Documentary Film
Visit the Facebook page for the 2012 documentary about the struggle to win inclusion for women’s ski jumping as an Olympic event.
(Source: Facebook.com; accessed June 22, 2016)