An Olympian Challenge

2dRX5fIWhat’s your favorite Olympic sport?

Personally, I like the luge, though I don’t think I could summon the courage to wear that suit. I also love the bobsleigh. Sign me up for that one. And who doesn’t love Olympic hockey? Blend normal, NHL-level hockey intensity with the jingoistic fervor of national pride, and you’ve got quite the spectacle. I can’t wait for the medal rounds.

But of all the great sports out there, how about ski jumping?

A skier, hurtling down a ramp at more than 60 mph, bursting into the air and into a drop of more than 14 stories. It’s mind-blowing.

It’s also been male only. At least until this year.

Yep, this is the first Olympics where women will be able to put on the skis and soar through the air. After 90 years of male domination, in Sochi women will attain gender parity in the sport of ski jumping.

Here’s the story, from this article:

“After decades of campaigning and a full 90 years since the first men’s competition, women will finally compete in Olympic ski jumping at the Sochi 2014 Games.

Despite the fact that men’s Olympic ski jumping has been around since the 1924 games, women have spent the last few decades campaigning for inclusion. This year, the first ever U.S. women’s ski jumping team will include Lindsay Van, 29, Jessica Jerome, 27, and reigning world champion Sarah Hendrickson, who is just 19 years old.

Although the reasons women were prevented from participating in the Olympic sport were mainly logistical, barring women from specific sports is rooted in gender bias — particularly the dusty old notion that rigorous physical activity is dangerous to women’s reproductive organs.”

To be clear, the news is not all good.

According to the official Sochi site, women will compete in the normal hill only, while men will compete in both the normal and large hills, and there is a team competition for the men. So that’s one competition for the women and three for the men.

Still, it’s a start.

Perhaps you’ve seen the VISA commercial celebrating this milestone and featuring Sarah Hendrickson. If not, here you go.

As the article notes, other Winter Olympic sports have led the way in gender parity. So, props to sports like cross country skiing, speed skating, curling, hockey and bobsleigh.

And now it’s your turn Nordic combined.

Note: cheer on the women ski jumpers as they compete on February 11th with the start of the normal hill competition. 

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