It's over for now. The hopes of women ski jumpers to take part in the 2010 Olympic Games at Vancouver have been dashed one more time. The Supreme Court of Canada has decided it will not hear an appeal in the jumpers' case against VANOC, the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.
In a nutshell: FIS, the governing body of competitive skiing and snowboarding, voted in 2006, 114-1, in favor of welcoming them to the games. The International Olympic Committee said, "No."
"It's absolutely absurd, absolutely ridiculous," top American jumper Lindsey Van said last season. "It's 2009 and this is almost like a joke. I don't have words for it anymore, it's so beyond maddening."
After beating their heads against the stone wall of the IOC - their view - Van and 14 other women jumpers filed a lawsuit against VANOC, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Their basis? Canada has laws against gender discrimination, VANOC is a quasi-governmental organization, and $120 million in public funds have been spent on athletic facilities at the Vancouver Games.
They lost, then appealed to the Canadian Supreme Court, which has just decided not to hear the case.
Attorney Ross Clark, lead counsel for the women, said, "We are very disappointed the Supreme Court of Canada does not view this as matter of national importance and will not have the opportunity to hear our arguments. This case was not just about women ski jumpers. The textbook gender discrimination found by the lower court judge should have been examined by the highest court in the land in light of its significance to our Charter case."
Deedee Corradini, president of Women's Ski Jumping-USA and long-time advocate for the women's case, told OnTheSnow, "We're very disappointed. These women have been disappointed so many times over the past decade and this is one more in a string of disappointments. For some of the jumpers, 2010 was probably the last opportunity to jump in the Olympics. Lindsay Van is 25, and this could be her last shot at an Olympics. But these women don't give up, and we're not going to give up until these women are in the Olympics.
"The good news is that through this process we've raised the issue into the public awareness. Before the last two years, 99 percent of the population were not aware that women weren't allowed to jump in the Olympics.
"Now that the world is aware, people think women should be there. The public wants these women jumping, and I certainly hope the IOC is getting that message and that they will do the right thing, and vote quickly to let them compete in 2014," Corradini said.
Van, who placed first in the first-ever women's World Championship last February in Liberec, Czech Republic, told OnTheSnow that the Supreme Court's decision was not a real surprise. "It's disappointing, but kind of what I expected. In my gut I knew it was going to happen, that there wasn't enough time left before the Olympics."
Van is taking a break from jumping. "I'm just kind of worn out from the whole process right now. I've been jumping 19 years straight, and I'm taking a little break for a couple of months, then will reassess where I am," she said.
As for the Olympics? "I'm not wanted there, so I'm not going."