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Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Saturday, 11 July 2009 15:35 UK

Women ski jumpers lose legal bid

Lindsey Van
World Champion Lindsey Van is among the 15 women who challenged the IOC

A Canadian judge has rejected a bid by female ski jumpers to compete in next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The International Olympic Committe has refused to sanction women's ski jumping in the Games, arguing that not enough women are competing in the sport.

The women had argued that being excluded violated Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The judge ruled they were being discriminated against but could not fight under Canada's civil rights laws.

The 15 current and former international women ski jumpers had sued the Vancouver Organising Committee arguing that as the host and organiser of the 2010 Games, VANOC was required to abide by Canadian law.

They also allege the IOC's decision is motivated by sexism, a charge the IOC refuted.

"As previously explained, our decision was based on technical issues, without regard to gender," the committee said in a statement reacting to the decision.

The judge, Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon agreed with VANOC that only the IOC had the authority to decide which sports would be included in Olympic competitions.


"The IOC made a decision that discriminates against the plaintiffs. Only the IOC can alleviate that discrimination by including an Olympic ski jumping event for women in the 2010 Games," she said.

Commenting on the decision, Canadian ski jumper Katie Willis said: "It's awful that we lost, but I'm glad we tried."

Willis and world champion Lindsey Van have previously requested a meeting with IOC president Jacques Rogge to discuss the issue to no avail.

Lawyers will now study the court decision before deciding if there are grounds to appeal.

Ski jumping has been an Olympic sport since 1924, but is one of the few events in either the Winter or Summer Games to not have both a men's and women's competition. All new sports allowed into the Games must have both.

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see also
Women fight Olympic ski jump ban
21 Apr 09 |  Americas
Female jumpers snubbed by Rogge
25 Mar 09 |  Olympics
Money worries for Canada Olympics
13 Jan 09 |  Americas

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