10 questions for ski jumper Lindsey VanTweet
Lindsey Van is the current FIS World Champion for women’s ski jumping, she was part of a group of 15 jumpers that took part in a landmark law suit against the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee. Last Friday, before a three-judge panel of the BC Court of Appeals, the judges ruled against their legal action. They plan on releasing their written reasons later this week. In a Ski Racing exclusive we caught up with Lindsey over the weekend, to ask her to share her feelings about it all, what it was like to be in the courtroom and her plans now.
SR: What did the whole experience feel like in the courtroom?
Van: It was quite the experience in the courtroom. It’s not too often you are in the court of appeals in BC Supreme Court. There was a lot at stake so you could feel the tension in the room.
SR: How did you react when you heard the verdict? Were you shocked?
Van: Going into court, I didn’t expect much because I did not want to get my hopes up. After hearing arguments for two days I was feeling more optimistic about our chances. There was a sense of shock initially, but after taking a step back I honestly was not that shocked.
SR: I know this has only just happened, but what do you think your takeaway from this experience is?
Van: In this experience we didn’t lose anything, we just didn’t gain anything. We didn’t have the Olympics to lose in the first place. The sport will continue to move forward and fight for what is right.
SR: Can there be any further legal action?
Van: There could be one more higher court, The Supreme Court of Canada, but it doesn’t look like we will pursue this option. There is not much time. We have not read the reasons for our denial yet. Our lawyers will have to look at before that decision can be made.
SR: Are you at all confident that women’s jumping might get in by the 2014 Sochi Games?
Van: I don’t have any expectations. Who knows what the IOC is capable of, but we will continue to fight for inclusion.
SR: As for your jumping now, will you go forward with your season as planned?
Van: I have not made a final decision on anything yet. There are a lot of factors that play into this decision that I have to take into consideration.
SR: You said in Lake Placid, this has all been very distracting for you, how bad was it?
Van: Of course it’s distracting. I am an athlete, but have become so involved with this that it goes hand in hand with ski jumping. At this point it is hard to separate jumping, and the political side of it all. I love the sport, but it’s hard just to focus on the sport with so much energy directed towards the other stuff.
SR: Can or will this lobbying effort continue back to the IOC?
Van: Yes we will continue to press forward and fight to get our sport into the Olympics.
SR: What made you the most angry in all of this legal action?
Van: It’s more of a lack of understanding, but not anger. We still have no real answers from the IOC why they continue to deny our inclusion. We meet all their technical standards, so I am still waiting for real answers.
SR: Finally, after all of this what is your current state of mind ?
Van: I am disappointed, and confused. I will continue to fight for answers as well as for the sport. I will also still enjoy the sport, and take some time to do what I want and take a break from all the serious part of the sport.
By Peter Q. Graves
Image by Gepa