The tension between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Canadian national women’s ski jumping team continues to heat up, as the women fight for their inclusion in the 2010 Olympic Games. While the issue of gender discrimination has been widely discussed, one topic of debate that has failed to be addressed is the women’s inability to receive funding.
As of November 2006, the women have experienced many setbacks due to the IOC’s decision to reject the inclusion of women’s ski jumping. As a result, the women also lost their opportunity to receive funding from the federal government. Sport Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage provides funding to athletes based on an evaluation of their medal potential for 2010 and with women’s ski jumping not being considered an official Olympic sport, they will not have access to the funds. “It was a snowball effect, since we are not in the Olympics we don’t get certain funding or we can’t apply for certain things like grants,” said Katie Willis, who is the top female ski jumper on the Canadian team and is ranked sixth in the world.
Although not being able to participate in the 2010 Games is unfortunate, the real problem is the lack of funding going towards the girls and their quest to succeed. Competing in a sport can be costly at any level, now imagine fitting the bill to compete in Europe.
In order to cover their costs, the women’s team has to resort to hosting bottle drives, fundraisers, and silent auctions. These tactics can only raise so much. With the lack of federal funding, the majority of the expenses fall upon the parents’ shoulders.
This reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw reading, “My kid and my money goes to UBC.” It is now very likely that the parents of these girls will be sporting a bumper sticker that reads: “This athlete is paid for and funded by the Bank of Mom and Dad.”