VANCOUVER - Female ski jumpers say the start of their case against the 2010 Olympics Monday marks a historic moment in sport.
Fifteen women are suing organizers claiming their Charter rights are being violated because male jumpers are allowed to compete in the Games and they aren't.
Deedee Corradini, the former mayor of Salt Lake City who is also a spokesperson for the women, said Monday she's confident in the case and is grateful for the support of the Canadian public.
''We're cautiously optimistic that we're going to win this and that the women will be jumping in Vancouver 2010,'' Corradini said on the steps of the B.C. Supreme Court.
Corradini said a victory would embolden the cause of female athletes in the Olympic movement because there are far fewer events for them than for men.
''This may finally bring us to some kind of parity and equality in the Olympics for the first time in history,'' she said.
While on the surface the case may be a clear one of discrimination, less is clear about whether the local organizing committee, known as VANOC, is subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Prior cases have determined that in order for a non-government agency to be covered by the Charter, it must be proven that the government has regular and routine control over the organizing.
The women argue that VANOC is serving a government function.
They point to the government funding VANOC receives, the presence of government-appointed members of the committee's board and the promises the government has made for helping stage the Games.
VANOC lawyers argue the committee is not under government control and that the choice of what sports are in the Games isn't VANOC's to make but belongs to the International Olympic Committee.
The women's lawyer finds that claim ''untenable.''
''It is VANOC, not the IOC, that is planning, organizing, financing and staging the 2010 Games,'' Ross Clark said in his argument before the court.
''VANOC's constitutional obligations cannot be weakened, much less eliminated, by the IOC.''
No witnesses will be called in the case. Lawyers for each side have two days apiece to provide their arguments, supported by reams of affidavits and case law that was filed in court last week.