Archive for April, 2009

Supreme Court hearing in B.C. is intense

Posted in lawsuit, Lindsey Van, Ski Jumping on April 23, 2009 by Vanessa Pierce

img_24531This week I am in Vancouver Canada for a Supreme Court case with my teammate Jessica Jerome, former teammate and team director Karla Keck, and other Canadian ski jumpers.  We are among 15 plaintiffs that filled a suit last May against VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee) to try and get women’s ski jumping to the Olympic program for the games in Vancouver in 2010.  The other plaintiffs represent Norway, Germany, Austria, and Sloenija.

Today was day three of a five day hearing.  The first two days were given to the plaintiffs to argue.  Our lawyers, Ross Clark, and Jeff Horswill, have worked ard on this case over the last year.  They spent the time given explaining other court precedence-using past court decisions to prove that VANOC us a “government entity” and thus had to follow the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Clark spent mcuh of the second day showing how VANOC is those government decisions, and should be held to the Canadian Charter.  I thought there was an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows VANOC is a government entity.  It was very interesting, and intense at times.  I was sittting on the edge of my seat at points that nailed VANOC.  I felt the first two days went very well in our favor, and our arguments are very strong.

img_2470Today the defense had their chance to state their arguments.  Lawyers spent much of the day proving that VANOC was not controlled by the B.C. Provincial government, but rather IOC, which has “control” over the organizing committee’s decision making, and they only say what events are added to the Olympic program.  He went through many documents that showed VANOC wanted to include the women’s ski jumping, but only if the IOC had added the event to the program.  His whole claim is that because VANOC is not a governemnt entity, it is not held to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We have two more days left of the hearing, and Thursday s another day for VANOC.  Friday is split between the two sides for final arguments.  We have a woman judge that seems to be fair-minded, and she will be making her decision sometime in the next few months.  It seems like a while for a decison, but she has s many documents to review, so I can understand why she would need the time.

I am confident in our lawyers, and the arguments they have presented.  I am eager for this to be over and hear her final decison.  Other than sitting in court, we have been doing lots and lots of media.  The coverage is great locally and internationally, and the word is being spread.  Check out some of the links postef for some more coverage.  Thanks for all the support, I hope the judge rules in our favor!!!



Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 by Vanessa Pierce

Spring, well it hasn’t really been spring yet here in Utah. We had twelve feet of snow over a ten day period in the last couple of weeks, and it is snowing again. With all the snow it leaves one thing to do, and that is skiing. I have been skiing all over the state. I have been skiing endless powder at Deer Valley, Park City, The Canyons, Alta, and Powder Mountain. I have been alpine skiing, and telemark skiing. It is very nice to be home, and relax after the season. I am having a great time playing in a winter wonderland, but I know spring is coming in hot.

I traveled to Denver a few weeks ago to try and meet with the head of the International Olympic Committee. Katie Willis and I had requested a meeting with Jacque Rogge while he was visiting Denver. We did not get our meeting, but had some contact with the IOC. We wanted to meet with him to discuss the current state of our sport. I think he decided not to meet with us, because he has no reason for denying us inclusion in the Olympic Games. I am disappointed in the IOC and their inability to give us a reason that explains their decision. I am left with no real answer to the same question that has been asked for years.

On April 20th we will be in court. Myself and fourteen other plaintiffs will have our day in Canadian Supreme Court to fight for our sport. Our lawyers Ross Clark and Jeff Horswill are looking forward to the five day hearing, and are confident in our argument. I will be in Vancouver for a few days to hear some oral arguments. I am looking forward for it to be all over. I am optimistic about the case, and feel that it is strong on our behalf.

Other than dealing with ski jumping not much is going on here. I am trying to figure out my plans for the next year. I ski most days, and have been working a bit as a physical therapist aide at Alpine Sports Medicine. I am enjoying spring, and have begun to train again.


April 14 benefit for WSJUSA in New York

Posted in "Fighting Gravity", Ski Jumping, WSJUSA on April 9, 2009 by Vanessa Pierce

This is an excerpt from a Vanity Fair article about our fight for Olympic inclusion. We have a benefit party in New York on April 14.

Strap two planks to your feet, a brain bucket to your head, tuck down a long, long take-off ramp and fly high into the air—tips up, everyone—and land on a steep icy slope a couple of hundred feet away. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, et cetera?

If Vinko Bogataj, the plucky Yugoslav who face-planted so ferociously each week on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in the 1970s, can survive ski jumping, maybe you can too. Or at least a ski jump party.

Ski jumping, the original extreme sport of wintertime, is throwing a protest-cum-film screening benefit. It is not at a ski resort, but at Norwood, the private arts club on West 14th Street in Manhattan, on Tuesday, April 14. There you can mingle with a dozen world-class women ski jumpers, Saturday Night Live comedienne Rachel Dratch (who knows a little about ski jumping, having gone to Dartmouth where the famous Vale de Tempe jump stood from 1922 to 1993—the top of the jump was a favorite place for undergraduates to snog at sunrise), and others who are decrying the remarkable fact that at the 2010 Vancouver Games men will be able to ski jump but not women.