Canadian female ski jumper joins lawsuit over sports exclusion from Games

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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VANCOUVER A 17-year-old female ski jumper announced Wednesday that shes joining a lawsuit over the sports exclusion from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, making her the first active Canadian athlete to be part of the legal challenge.

Zoya Lynch is now among 10 female athletes most from the United States and Europe suing Vancouver Olympic organizers because womens ski jumping isnt on the lineup for the Winter Games.

Lynch, who started ski jumping when she was eight years old and is now on the Canadian national team, told a news conference Wednesday that the case is about fighting for womens equality.

When I look at it, ultimately it leads to sexism and gender inequality. I just feel like were being discriminated against because were girls, said Lynch, standing between her mother and lawyer.

I just want to be there. Its been my goal since I was little.

Until now, the only other Canadian connection has been Marie-Pierre Morin, a 26-year-old retired ski jumper who was among the first to join the lawsuit.

The International Olympic Committee voted in 2006 to exclude womens ski jumping from the 2010 Games, saying the sport didnt meet the basic criteria for an Olympic event.

In order to be included, sports must have held at least two world championships. The first womens ski jumping world championship is scheduled for next year.

The lawsuit, which was launched against Vancouver Olympic organizers and not the International Olympic Committee, alleges that excluding womens ski jumping violates the athletes rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It asks for womens ski jumping to be added to the 2010 Games, or, barring that, for mens ski jumping to be removed.

Vancouver Olympic organizers say they are bound by the decision of the international committee, and they also argue that because they are not a government body, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to them.

Officials in Vancouver werent available for comment.

The issue already prompted a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, but that was settled earlier this year after the federal government agreed to work with Olympic officials to change the rules.

Its not clear when the case will go to trial, but the Vancouver lawyer handling the lawsuit, Ron Clark, said it would likely be heard late this year or early 2009.

Organizations: International Olympic Committee, Rights, Canadian Charter Canadian Human Rights Commission

Geographic location: Vancouver, United States, Europe

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