Long gone are the days when even leading ski officials cited concerns for the female spine and womb when they denied women ski-jumping for World Cup points and major event medals.
But Tuesday finally sees the debut of a women’s team event at world championships on the Seefeld normal hill, 10 years after they had their first individual event at the worlds.
It has been only 20 years since the ruling body FIS officially recognized women’s ski-jumping, finally throwing overboard the health concerns and suggestions the sport was not practiced in enough countries.
Women are now also soaring off large hills in the World Cup as gender equality in all sports is considered all but mandatory and aggressively promoted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
There is still one black hole in this aspect, in Nordic combined.
But women in this demanding event twinning cross-country skiing and ski-jumping will be at the 2020 Youth Olympics, with an inaugural World Cup season and world championship debut to follow in the 2020-21 season.
“I am very happy that ladies Nordic combined is getting recognized and I am looking forward to participating in those competitions in the future,” Japan’s Ayane Miyazaki told the FIS website in December.
The women are currently in a second Continental Cup season as their top tier series, expanded from just three venues in the inaugural campaign last year to five this season.
Germany are among the few nations involved in the sport and their ski federation (DSV) sports director Karin Orgeldinger said Monday that they are funding women’s Nordic combined because “we want to help develop the sport” and praised the FIS for “a clear strategy.”
A women’s ski-jumping team event was originally also not to debut until the 2021 worlds in Oberstdorf, Germany, but the good infrastructure in Seefeld prompted FIS to add it on short notice in late January.
“We were delighted that the team event was added on such short notice. This is a good step for the development of our sport,” said German Carina Vogt, the first women’s Olympic jumping champion in 2014, and a four-time world champion.Vogt and her team-mates including 2018 Olympics silver medallist Katharina Althaus and Juliane Seyfarth are the top favorites for gold Tuesday, having dominated both World Cup team events.
However, the Olympics are yet to add a women’s jumping team event; and the Nordic combined community are also not happy that they will have to wait at least until 2026 for an Olympic debut.DSV president Franz Steinle said Monday he is “very sorry that it is not Olympic” but that this didn’t change the plan for the 2021 worlds because “we decided to send a signal.”
“We are convinced it will be a success. It will develop the same way as women’s ski-jumping,” Steinle said.
Orgeldinger meanwhile said there is still a small glimmer of hope for 2022, if the Chinese hosts back its inclusion.”We hope that China brings it in as hosts,” she said.