FILE UNDER -- Nordic

USSA lobbies for women's ski jumping at FIS Congress

USSA lobbies for women’s ski jumping at FIS Congress{mosimage}PARK CITY, Utah – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association will continue its strong support for women’s ski jumping when officials attend International Ski Federation meetings in Portugal later this month.

During the May 21-27 FIS Congress, officials from more than 100 nations will vote on the addition of women’s ski jumping in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships and to support the inclusion into the Olympic program by International Olympic Committee.

“Women’s ski jumping has made strong strides athletically in the past few years and we’re happy to continue our support,” said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, who also serves as a vice president of the FIS. “Our direction has been to grow the sport from the grassroots up, and that has been very effective. Since the implementation of increasingly higher levels of FIS competition programs starting in 2003, the number of participating nations has grown from five to 12.”

The upcoming FIS Congress vote is one in a continuing series of actions by the USSA in recent years to encourage the growth of women’s ski jumping in the USA and globally.

Women have been competing in USSA’s domestic jumping programs since the early 1990s. As participation grew in the ’90s, USSA adopted a women’s ski jumping class at its U.S. Ski Jumping Championships in 1999. USSA also pushed for the addition of international women’s competitions under the FIS. That FIS program took a big leap with development of a FIS Continental Cup circuit for women in 2004-05, as well as inclusion in the FIS Junior Nordic World Ski Championships this past winter, where 21 athletes from nine nations competed in Kranj, Slovenia.

“There’s been strong growth in the sport internationally in the past few years,” said USSA Nordic Program Director Luke Bodensteiner. “The implementation of the Continental Cup two seasons ago really upgraded the level of international competition. The continued growth is really a testament to what the athletes have accomplished internationally in growing their sport athletically.”

The FIS Congress, held every two years, is the highest level of governance for the international federation. The vote to include women’s ski jumping in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships is an important step toward Olympic inclusion. The FIS would then need to recommend women’s ski jumping to the IOC. Potential inclusion in the 2010 Olympics would also require approval of the Vancouver organizing committee before going to the IOC in July 2007.

The United States is second only to Germany among the 12 nations with athletes actively registered to take part in international competition.

Proposals from both Norway and Canada relative to women’s ski jumping are on the agenda for Friday, May 26 at the FIS Congress in Vilamoura, Portugal.


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