Olympic Ski Jumping Finally Opens to Women

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In 2014, women will officially be able to compete against each other in all of the same Winter Olympic sports as men.


Let that sink in a minute. 2014. The last holdout? Ski jumping.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will open ski jumping to women.

For background, the New York Times Magazine has a new piece called “Who Said Girls Can’t Jump?” that’s well-worth your time.


The short answer to that question is: the International Olympic Committee. Until now, the IOC said the number of women jumping at elite levels, and the number of countries with women ski jumpers, have been too low. But female skiers say that’s BS and even launched legal challenges, but there was little they could do.

Finally, the committee decided after the 2010 games to let women compete in the individual jump on the smaller of the two Sochi jump hills.

The timing of the announcement might sound like it’s coming a few decades late, but it’s not exactly out of character for the IOC.

The organization announced in the early '90s that future Olympic sports had to be open to both genders. But the operative word being "future." Ski jumping existed during the inaugural 1924 Winter Games so it got a pass.


Here’s a roundup of other sports that recently added women:


Women were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games for the first time…but only in a few sports like lawn tennis and yachting. When Baron Pierre de Coubertin organized the first modern Olympics in Paris in 1896, he prohibited female athletes. He reportedly believed that allowing them to compete would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect.’’



Women’s gymnastics was finally added to the roster. Over the next several decades, more events opened to women.



Women’s shooting events were added to the lineup. Men’s shooting events had been in existence since the first modern Olympic Games. The women’s marathon was also added.



Women's judo was added to the Olympics in Barcelona. Men’s judo had been added in the 1960s.



Women were finally allowed to compete in weightlifting, more than 100 years after men. The women's modern pentathlon was also added to the Olympics in Sydney, nearly 90 years after the men’s pentathlon was added.



Women's freestyle wrestling was added to the Olympics in Athens, exactly 100 years after it was added for men.



Women’s boxing was introduced, the last of the Summer Olympic events to open to women.


Three countries — Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia — that had prohibited women from competing in the games sent female athletes for the first time, meaning each of the 205 competing nations sent both male and female athletes.

The United States sent more women than men for the first time ever.


Women will be allowed to compete in ski jumping at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.


Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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