There are many records to be set and stories to be told by the Olympic athletes that make all of these events possible, and Women’s Ski Slopstyle and Ski Jump will make their way into the books today. The two events have their similarities in that they are both extreme sports where airtime plays a role. One key difference is the way that they arrived at the Olympics in Sochi.
Women’s Ski Slopestyle has been gaining momentum over the last few years. The Winter X Games, hosted in Aspen, Colorado has been considered the “Olympics” for winter extreme sports. Viewers have watched these young athletes slide across rails and boxes, and launch into the air off of jumps to complete an exhilarating run. Before Sochi, the only X Games sport in the Olympics was Men’s and Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe. The Olympic committee jumped on the bandwagon and has added 6 new extreme sports including Women’s Ski Slopestyle, giving the world a fresh look into what is possible on a pair of skis. Going into this competition the favorite is Canadian freestyle skier, Kaya Turski. Having won Women’s Slopestyle four times throughout her X Games career, competitors will have to give it everything they’ve got for a chance to top her.
Now, when it comes to Women’s Ski Jump, there was no bandwagon jumping; in fact it was just the opposite. Men have been competing in Ski Jump at the Olympic level since 1924. Because this sport was widely viewed as traditionally male, it proved difficult once women put their bid in to compete on the Olympic stage. In 2006 Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome had become the advocates for women’s Ski Jump and pushed for it to be included in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. The IOC decided that because it did not have “universality” it would be excluded. In 2008 the pair of women leading the charge teamed up with 13 other skiers to sue the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the right to compete. The British Columbia Supreme Court did agree that the IOC was discriminating, but they could not force them to add it to the list of Olympic sports. The battle for Women’s Ski Jump continued on until 2011 when the IOC announced that the event would be allowed in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. A long and unjust battle has now come to an end and we, as viewers will be able to enjoy another piece of history as we watch these women fly over 170 meters to capture the first Olympic Gold for their sport.
These two sports, Slopestyle and Ski Jump, have very different stories when it comes to their Olympic inclusion. Yet, both have shown that they deserve to be a part of the world stage, and I for one am excited to be watching such history unfold.
Tuesday Schedule: http://www.nbcolympics.com/results-schedule/my-time