Women ski jumpers appeal decision

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- A group of 14 women ski jumpers appealed a court decision Tuesday that prevents them from competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The women filed their argument in British Columbia Court of Appeal, claiming that the organizers of the Vancouver Games must abide by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A three-judge panel will hear the appeal arguments in Vancouver on Nov. 12-13.

"We are not asking the court to determine which sports are to be included in the Olympics. That is not its role," attorney Ross Clark, who represents the ski jumpers, said in a statement Tuesday. "It is for the court to see that the hosting of the games, and in particular the ski jumping events, complies with the charter."

Ski jumping and Nordic combined -- which includes both ski jumping and cross-country skiing -- are the only Winter Olympic sports that don't include women.

The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled in July that the International Olympic Committee is discriminating against the ski jumpers by keeping them from the games. But Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon said the court does not have the power to order the sport be part of the program.

The IOC voted in 2006 to keep women's ski jumping off the 2010 program, saying it wasn't developed enough to meet the criteria for inclusion at an Olympics. The women claim the Vancouver organizing committee should hold women's ski jumping in 2010 or cancel all ski jumping events.

"Our position has always been that since the charter prohibits VANOC from hosting an unconstitutional ski jumping event ... VANOC must refuse to do so," Clark said.