KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — With the first women's ski jumping gold medal finally awarded at the Olympics, the next question is where to from here for the sport?
The answer: it's in good hands, and pressing for more exposure at the Winter Games.
Hours before Carina Vogt of Germany won the inaugural normal hill competition at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center on Tuesday night, some of the powerbrokers who helped get the sport into the Olympics after a decade-long fight were already plotting their next moves.
"Now we have to work on 2018, getting women on the large hill and a team event ... now we start working on that," said DeeDee Corradini, president of the not-for-profit Women's Ski Jumping USA and a former mayor of Salt Lake City.
Corradini and Peter Jerome, father of American ski jumper Jessica Jerome and founder of Ski Jumping USA, were among those leading the fight to get women's ski jumping into the games. They had to overturn long-time impressions that women's bodies weren't able to withstand the rigors of the sport.
Still, Jerome and Co. proceeded, convincing the International Ski Federation (FIS) to establish the first world championships for women in 2009, won by American Lindsey Van, and then a senior World Cup circuit beginning in 2011-12. The numbers grew, so much so that 70 jumpers entered a World Cup event last year.
Along the way, there were battles against the International Olympic Committee, which refused to consider their entry even though male ski jumpers were part of the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924.
Ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Games, Jessica Jerome and Van were part of a group of more than a dozen female ski jumpers who tried to get the British Columbia Supreme Court to force Olympic organizers to give them a spot at the Olympics. That failed, but the IOC finally agreed in 2011 to give the women one event at Sochi, the normal hill.
Corradini said the fight eventually became more than a sporting concern.