Photo by tpower1978 on Flickr
The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday the inclusion of six new events for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. While men's and women's ski halfpipe, biathlon mixed relay, luge team relay, and a figure skating team event all made the list, for many the most important addition was women's ski jumping.
The struggle for the inclusion of women's ski jumping has been ongoing for years, according to The New York Times. Perhaps the most difficult hurdle to overcome was the IOC's previous ruling that the event had too few elite competitors to qualify it as an Olympic event. Yet the sport has seen a growth in popularity recently. Last month, for example, the United States collegiate ski jumping championships included women's ski jumping for the first time.
The IOC press released stated that "The key positive factors included whether the changes would increase universality, gender equity and youth appeal, and, in general, add value to the Games."
“It will absolutely grow the sport by leaps and bounds,” Deedee Corradini, the president of the women’s ski jumping foundation and the former mayor of Salt Lake City, told the Times. “It was always a chicken-and-egg problem. Once the girls know that they’re in the Olympics, more and more want the opportunity to do better.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge said of the new additions, “The inclusion of these events on the Olympic Winter Games programme is sure to be appreciated by athletes and sports fans alike. These are exciting, entertaining events that perfectly complement the existing events on the sports programme, bring added appeal and increase the number of women participating at the Games. I look forward to watching the athletes compete in these events in Sochi 2014.”