A Jump In The Right Direction

Germany’s Carina Vogt won the gold metal in women’s ski jumping yesterday, making her the first person in Olympic history to do so; until this year, only men could compete in the sport. Amanda Ruggeri looks back on the absurdity of the 90-year snub, which was partly based on the protection of women’s reproductive organs:

Let’s point out what should be pretty obvious already: Ski jumping is hard on women’s bodies. That’s because it’s hard on everyone’s bodies – on knees and knee ligaments, in particular, not on reproductive organs. The IOC’s Medical Commission itself stated the equivalent of “no duh” in a special report in 2002, writing that, in sports in general, “The female reproductive organs are better protected from serious athletic injury than the male organs. Serious sports injuries to the uterus or ovaries are extremely rare.” Lindsey Van, one of the three women jumping for the U.S. this year and the winner in 2009 of the first Nordic World Ski Championships to include women, put the matter more colorfully to NBC last year: “It just makes me nauseous. Like, I kind of want to vomit. Like, really? Like, I’m sorry, but my baby-making organs are on the inside. Men have an organ on the outside. So if it’s not safe for me jumping down, then my uterus is going to fall out, what about the organ on the outside of the body?”