UPDATE: International Olympic Committee decides not to include women’s Nordic events for 2026 Winter Games
The Vice President of the Ishpeming Ski Club responded to the decision, calling it “disappointing”
NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - On Friday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reached a decision on the fate of Nordic Combined skiing, a decision that the Ishpeming Ski Club has been watching closely.
Kaija Copenhaver, 12, has participated in Nordic Combined skiing since 5th grade. She said her goal one day is to compete against boys and girls in the Winter Olympics.
“(Nordic is) very important to me because I just love doing it, and it’s something I really enjoy,” said Kaija. “I think it’s very special to me because it’s one of my favorite sports.”
As Kaija continues practicing her ski jumps, she also knows women’s Nordic Combined has never been in the games. The sport itself made its Olympics debut in 1924 and is currently the only remaining Olympic sport that does not include female competitors.
Kaija’s father, Peter, who is also the Ishpeming Ski Club vice president, said she and other female competitors deserve a shot.
“It’s only been about 2014 since they have been allowed to compete in ski jumping,” Peter said. “It seems only befitting that (the committee) would allow them to compete in Nordic Combined now.”
This month, the ski club has been sharing an international petition asking the IOC to allow women’s Nordic events in the 2026 Winter Olympics. On Friday afternoon, however, the committee decided to keep the sport itself...but not to include women’s Nordic events. Peter called the decision saddening.
“I wish it could be different, especially with an organization that prides itself on gender equality,” Peter said. “(Friday’s) news is quite disappointing to females who compete in Nordic Combined internationally.”
For now, the ISC skiers, like Kaija, will continue practicing and competing, and hope for better news about women’s Nordic events in the 2030 winter games.
Last published: Jun 23, 2022 9:44:55 PM
Nordic Combined has been in the Winter Olympics since 1924 and is the only Olympic sport that excludes women. On Friday, the IOC may decide if women’s Nordic events will be included in the games or if they will eliminate the sport completely.
Now, the Ishpeming Ski Club is circulating a petition to submit to the IOC by Friday, showing support for women’s inclusion.
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