Winter Games Athletes
No ski jumper will draw more satisfaction from competing in Sochi than Lindsey Van, for whom her final result may very well be anticlimactic. Van helped lead the long fight to force the inclusion of women’s ski jumping at the Olympics, a battle that finally paid off with women making their jumping debut in Sochi. It was anything but easy. Despite the FIS overwhelmingly recommending its inclusion as an Olympic sport in 2006, the IOC refused. Van, U.S. teammate Jessica Jerome and other top competitors then filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Vancouver Olympic organizers in hopes of forcing them to add the sport to the 2010 Games, but it failed. In 2011, it was announced that women’s ski jumping would finally make its games debut. "Ski jumping has been in (the Olympics) since 1924," Van said at the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit in October. "I've always wanted to have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics. Ninety years after, we finally got it. To have it be so close to the Olympics, it's pretty crazy. But I'm ready for it." Van has been featured in the documentary film “Ready to Fly,” which chronicles the rise of women’s ski jumping and the fight to make it an Olympic sport. Van finished eighth in the 2012-13 World Cup standings, though she’s ranked 24th this season. However, she’ll join 14th-ranked Jessica Jerome and the recently recovered Sarah Hendrickson on the historic and formidable first U.S. women’s Olympic ski jumping team, which appears to have a good shot to record a podium finish on the normal hill - the only women’s event in Sochi. Van was the 2009 world champion in normal hill and has made two World Cup podiums in 35 starts. She took up skiing in a youth racing program, but found herself always seeking out the jumps. Watching competitors use the recently completed jumping facility built for the 2002 Winter Games in her home state hooked her, and she began ski jumping when she was seven.