Olympic Update: Lindsey can Finally Fly

Lindsey Van

Lindsey Van

WOMEN’S ski jumping has a long and troubled history, longer even than the trials and tribulations of Women’s Suffrage.

H. P. Blavatsky’s mother Helena Andreyvna Fadeyev, a novelist, known as the “Russian George Sand,”  was an advocate of women’s rights.

Mme. Blavatsky herself was passionately involved in the movement.

“It was man, not woman, who became the first sinner and was turned out of Paradise,” she argued in The Pioneer, December 2,1880.

“If man is endowed with stronger muscles, woman’s nerves surpass his in capacity for endurance. The biggest brain ever found—in weight and size—is now proved to have belonged to a woman.”

“If so many women were found good enough to reign and govern nations, they surely must have been fit to vote. … Law was ever unjust to woman; and instead of protecting her, it seeks but to strengthen her chains.”

Women's Suffrage

Women’s Suffrage

“The very first organized ski jumping event in history featured at least one participant in a skirt. Ingrid Olavsdottir Vestby jumped 20 meters that day in 1862,” says Lead Writer Jonathan Snowden in today’s Bleacher Report, “and brave women have been jumping ever since.”

One of those women is Lindsey Van, and this is the story of her struggle for Olympic recognition and acceptance in her chosen sport, and for all female athletes:

Ready to Fly

A Big Deal

Jonathan Snowden: “On Tuesday, American Lindsey Van will compete in the Olympic Games for the first time. A legend in her sport, the 29-year-old has never represented her country in the ski jump. 

“No one has.That makes
Tuesday kind of a big deal.”

“For 90 years, since the first Winter Olympics in 1924, women have been forbidden from participating in the ski jump, one of the Games’ eight original sports.

Since 1998, a few staunch advocates have waged active battle from the slopes to the courts to see the world’s premiere winter sporting event fully integrated. They’ve met fierce resistance at every turn.

The reason? It’s crazy, antiquated and, frankly, a little unbelievable.”

Leap of Faith

Women have been ski jumping for over 100 years. When Chamonix, France, hosts the first Olympic Winter Games, ski jumping (for men only) is one of the eight sports. For the next 80 years, women jumped on their own or in informal sporting groups.

Austrian countess Paula Lamberg jumping in a skirt in 1911.

Austrian countess Paula Lamberg jumping in a skirt in 1911.


Jerome, Hendrickson, Van make team (video)

2 responses to “Olympic Update: Lindsey can Finally Fly

  1. Thank you for this delightful post, TW. We all know our beloved HPB to be a Champion for freedom, but that she was a direct champion for women, I never knew, and it’s wonderful knowing of her mother as well, undoubtedly a strong influence. Startling to see the photo of the woman jumping in a skirt, but even more so that here we are in the year 2014, speaking of “firsts”. NAMASTE.


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