Vancouver Olympics bittersweet for group of female athletes

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VANCOUVER -- It's a bittersweet time for a group of female athletes that has tried for six years to get into the Olympics. Women's Ski Jump is not an Olympic event, but the fight is not over.

It's hard for Canadian ski jumper Katie Willis to be only a spectator during the Vancouver Olympics.

"We really feel we are Olympic athletes, and we have met the criteria, and we deserve to be there," Willis says.

"It's a party here, and we weren't invited. It's very bittersweet," says Deedee Corradini, president of Women's Ski Jumping USA.

A handful of women ski jumpers from all over the world have been fighting to get their sport in the Olympics. They lost their fight in court to compete in Vancouver, so now they are working to get into the Russia 2014 games.

"We are inviting the Russian women ski jumpers to Park City for a friendship training camp this coming June," Corradini says.

She has also been meeting with Russian Olympic officials to convince them to let the women jump with men.

"It would be tremendous for Russia to be the first gender-equal Olympics," she says.

And for Willis, she says it would only be fair to compete in Russian, like her male counterparts that she's trained and jumped with since she was eight years old.

"I'm only 18 right now. In four years, I'll be 22, so that's not too bad," she says.

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge did find discrimination by the International Olympic Committee but said she had no authority to force the IOC to change its decision.


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Amanda Butterfield


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