From the NYTimes Sunday Magazine, “Who Said Girls Can’t Jump?“:
The resistance to women in ski jumping makes frustratingly little sense when you recognize what female jumpers can do. “The gap between men and women in ski jumping is so small, you can’t believe it,” Bernardi told me. “Every year, with girls like Sarah, the girls are flying better, better, better.” Today, he said, there might not actually be another sport in which, at the superelite level, the differences in male and female capability are so minimal. “Maybe there is something with horses? Equestre? But even there it is half the horse.”
Van said she believed that this is also the reason women have been excluded from the top competitions in the sport for so long. “If women can jump as far as men, what does that do to the extreme value of this sport?” she asks. “I think we scared the ski-jumping [establishment].”
There is so little difference between women and men in the sport because lightness and technique count just as much as muscle and power. A jump can be separated into four sections: the in run, where balance is crucial as the athlete pushes off a start bar and goes down a track; the jump, where within a tenth of a second the athlete transitions from rushing down the track to a hard-push takeoff; the flight, where skis are kept in V-formation, and the ideal model for the body is a kite, paper thin, but with enough surface to catch good air; and finally, the landing, which is often done in telemark style, meaning one ski in front of the other. A ski jump is measured by judges for both distance and style. Women are allowed to start from a higher point on the jump because of their lighter weight (for heavier women, this can be an advantage).
Girls can ski jump. Girls can code. Girls can do math. Girls can be astronauts. Girls can be pro photographers. Girls can be pro surfers. Girls can jump. Girls can do it.
Read the article.