VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- A group of female ski jumpers has written IOC president Jacques Rogge, praising the addition of women's boxing to the Summer Olympics and urging that women's ski jumping be part of the Vancouver Games.
The female jumpers have gone to court, arguing that exclusion from the Vancouver Olympics violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"You have the opportunity to add to your legacy as IOC president by indicating the time is now, and Canada is the place, for gender equality in the Olympics," says the letter, signed by 14 current and former women ski jumpers from North American and Europe.
The IOC voted last week to include women's boxing on the schedule for the 2012 London Games. Adding women's boxing means all 26 sports at the Summer Games have female and male competitors.
Ski jumping and Nordic combined -- which includes both ski jumping and cross-country skiing -- are the only Winter Olympic sports that don't include women.
"Your decision has made the Summer Games' program gender-equal and the outpouring of positive response in the media indicates how 'right' that is for everyone, especially female athletes," the letter says. "The world would cheer even louder if you took the final step to allow women ski jumpers to compete in the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010."
A British Columbia Supreme Court said the IOC is discriminating against female ski jumpers by keeping them out of the Games. But Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon said the court lacks the power to order the sport to be included at the Vancouver Olympics.
The IOC voted in 2006 to keep women's ski jumping off the 2010 program, saying it wasn't developed enough to meet the criteria for inclusion at an Olympics.
The women say their sport has grown globally.
"Since 2006, our universality has increased substantially, and we now have close to 100 women from 18 countries competing at the elite level, again ahead of many of the Olympic sports we should be compared to," the letter states. "All we are asking for is one event in 2010, where our male teammates have three."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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