Women's ski jumping makes historic Olympic debut: Newsmaker of Day 4
Sport arrives 90 years after men first jumped
It was an event worth waiting for.
Despite only three medals, 30 women were victorious on Tuesday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Sochi.
After 90 years of waiting, including multiple disputes with the International Olympic Committee since 1998, women’s ski jumping finally made its Olympic debut.
German Carina Vogt made history by becoming the first Olympic champion in the discipline, but in this case the gold medal was second to the joy and satisfaction of having the sport she and her fellow competitors love become an Olympic event.
Vogt’s final score was 247.4, enough to edge Austrian ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, who finished second with 246.2.
“I cannot find the right words, it’s amazing, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible three hours ago,” Vogt said. “It’s amazing. I’m the first woman Olympic champion in ski jumping.”
Iraschko-Stolz, a veteran of the sport, has been one of the advocates of the sport and played a key role during the push to have women jumpers included in the Winter Games.
And her years of campaigning for ski jumping finally paid off.
France’s Coline Mattel, who rounded out the podium in third (245.2), was grateful for her Austrian rival’s work ahead of Sochi.
"She definitely deserves to be on the podium. It's important that she is on the podium. She fought for it," said Mattel.
Favourite and world number one Sara Takanashi of Japan was upset and ended up without a medal in the fourth position.
Fighting for inclusion
The battle between women ski jumpers and the IOC intensified after they were excluded from the 2010 Games in Vancouver as athletes and the ski federation took the case to court to challenge the decision - only to be rejected, again.
In 2011 the IOC finally said yes to women’s ski jumping, ending the long-running dispute.
But it’s not over yet.
In Sochi, women were only allowed to participate on the normal hill, and the group is limited to 30 jumpers. They can’t jump the large hill or participate in the team event.
However, after the outstanding performance displayed on Tuesday, it’s clear the IOC won’t wait another 90 years to expand the discipline in the next Olympics and let these impressive athletes show how far they can go.