KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — The gold medal presentations are still more than three days away, but the world's best female ski jumpers will finally get a chance to show the Olympics they belong when they hold their first official training session Saturday.
It's not as if they haven't waited long enough — joining the Winter Games 90 years after their male counterparts.
The lead-off competitors at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center for the normal hill event won't be the ones expected to be on the podium late Tuesday evening when medals are presented. The training runs are seeded so that the lowest-ranked jumpers go first and conclude with those among the top 10 in the World Cup standings.
With the anticipation growing, and it's been brewing for a while, here are five things to know about women's ski jumping's Winter Games debut on Saturday:
SO HOW LONG HAS IT REALLY BEEN? Male jumpers were at the inaugural Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, France, and their female counterparts have been lobbying the International Olympic Committee for nearly a decade to be included. But Sochi Olympic officials say it's been more than 150 years since the first documented women's ski jump was reported — by Norwegian Ingrid Olavsdottir Vestby in 1862.
POETIC JUSTICE: Two of the leaders of 15 women who led an unsuccessful court case in 2008 against Vancouver Olympic organizers — Americans Lindsey Van, the sport's first world champion in 2009, and Jessica Jerome — will be among the starters on Saturday. The IOC finally agreed to admit women jumpers in 2011. "I didn't see it as something noble, I saw it more as a moral responsibility," Jerome has said of the court case.