As of this posting, 9 girls have $4000 dollars in their bank account.
These nine girls are future Olympians.
Though that, too, is new news. Really big news. The HISTORY MAKING kind of news.
Since 1924, Men’s Ski jumping has been included in the Olympic Winter Games. Now, for all the young ones who have grown up with Snowboarding, Halfpipe, Skicross, etc… this may seem like an afterthought. Ski jumping. But think about it. For one second.
I dare you, i triple dog damn dare you, to do this: Sit on a metal bar on a K120 hill. Lock your ski’s into two parallel tracks. Tuck down that hill at 55-60 MPH, then jump blindly over more than a football field and a half, and land without totally dismembering your body.
Oh, you need an illustration, you say? OK, well let me show you the view:
Got it? Just a little bit?
OK, now back to the story.
April 6, 2011. Maybe you were making a nice, hot, big-ass bowl of oatmeal. Maybe you had a craazzy day of meetings at work (that would be me). Maybe you were late to pick up your kids at daycare, or it was an extraordinarily warm day and you decided to barbeque.
But do you know what day that was for these 9 women?
It was the day they made history. It was the day that Women’s Ski Jumping was declared as an Olympic sport, and therefore making Sochi 2014 the first ever GENDER EQUAL WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES.
that is so big it’s mind boggling. I mean it’s really goddamn huge. and i know you, readers… i know that the men reading this are just as excited and impacted as the women are.
So this blog is not about the dearth of funding to send these girls to the competitions to which they need to travel.
This blog is not about the fact that i attended a fundraiser Friday night where the girls held up the auction items in blind faith that someone attending would donate the equivalent of an airfare to Europe so they could compete in a World Championship and not have to sleep on a hotel floor in a sleeping bag.
This blog is not about the fact that the chances of these girls medaling for the US is so high that we are crazy not to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at them so that they may train to the full capacity of the other “popular” Olympic Sports.
No, it’s not about that at all.
This blog is about this: I spent 3 hours this last Saturday morning watching the girls jump.
And i had my 10 year old daughter with me.
And these girls, the youngest, Sarah Hendrickson at 16, and her 2009 World Champion colleague, Lindsey Van, at 26, and the 7 in between, are the most beautiful, kindest, and hard-core-drop-dead-balls-out-bad-ass-women i have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
And i will never forget the look on my daughter Savannah’s face when they picked her up, of their own accord, and celebrated breaking the goddamn glass ceiling for all future generations of female athletes. And Savannah, still disillusioned to the significance of the moment, laughed her heart out.
i’m done writing blogs about things that don’t matter.
And if it doesn’t matter to you, that’s ok.
Just pick something that does, and defend it to your very core.
It’s all i ask, and it’s all the beautiful 9 would ask too.
Enjoy the following photos from Saturday, taken by Dan Campbell, photograher extraordinaire (www.dancampbellphotography.com). He has earned the girls’ trust, and volunteers his talent graciously, right down to the bone.
It is my hope, in a small way, that this brings significance to the importance of that hot bowl of oatmeal on April 6, 2011.
UPDATE, as of 12/23/2011.
mark this down, because it’s an extraordinary postscript to this story.
Sarah Hendrickson, age 17, has just won the FIRST EVER Women’s World Cup for Ski Jumping in Lillehammer, Norway.
OK, disclaimer… i do NOT KNOW WHO TOOK THESE PHOTOS, but is it NOT ME… it is someone so much more talented than me and as soon as i find out who, i will give complete credit!
But this, this is about the Women Ski Jumpers, and of all the nonsensical (is that a word?) blogs i have written, this is not only the most meaningful to me personally, but has also had the most readers of any blog i’ve written, and i didn’t even swear!!!!!
So please please please please, if you are reading THIS VERY SENTENCE, will you help these women by doing three very simple tasks:
1) SHARE this blog post on your facebook, twitter, or google plus (not that i have any f(*cking clue how to use it, seriously, google…) page.
2) watch, share, and spread the word on the READY TO FLY documentary, from the amazing Bill Kerig so that they are the heros in Sochi when these women make the Olympic games the first EVER winter games to be gender equal.
3) LIKE the women’s ski jumping facebook page to show that this is a truly meaningful cause. Be the person that gets total gratification from a competition that allows both sexes!
on behalf of the women who have been jumping since i learned that Milli Vanilli were lip synching, and my mother, Deedee Corradini, who’s shoes will take a lifetime to fill, Dan Campbell who has been the man behind the lens for these women, capturing their grace and beauty, and finally Bill Kerig who had the balls to step up and acknowledge that girls can, indeed, fly….
please share, spread, and celebrate…
as would anyone that could fly would do.
TO THE GIRLS! YEEEHHAAAAA!!!!