In the coming season, the women in the World Cup will hold a ski flying competition for the first time. Getting there was difficult. The proponents of the new discipline fought against great resistance. These came from one of the most prominent faces in ski jumping history.
In mid-April, the FIS finally overcame its shadow and introduced a women’s ski flying competition. Many top athletes and associations have been promoting the new discipline for years. Norway’s superstar Maren Lundby was one of them.
Lundby was one of the biggest advocates of women’s ski flying. The reaction of some male colleagues, who spoke out against the new competition, is all the more disappointing. “We found out that not many support this idea,” she recalled in an interview with the Norwegian broadcaster “NRK”.
In the Norwegian men’s team there were only advocates, “but it wasn’t so easy with the foreign jumpers”. Some jumpers even spoke out against a ski flying competition for women: “They thought we shouldn’t do it because we’re not good enough. It’s that simple. And it hurts to hear that,” Lundby said angrily about the resistance from the male camp.
Lundby raises allegations against ski jumping legend Schlierenzauer
One of the most famous opponents was one of the most successful ski jumpers of all time: Gregor Schlierenzauer. “He said we weren’t good enough and didn’t support us,” Lundby complained. “I think that’s bad. I was very disappointed with the attitude of our foreign colleagues.”
When asked about Lundby’s words by “NRK”, Schlierenzauer rejected the statements made by the Norwegian top jumper. “I’ve always said that I really want to see women ski flying, but the timing has to be right. In my opinion, there are 20 women who can handle the big hill and enjoy it,” the Austrian believes that not all jumpers have grown in the field of challenge.
Lundby could call him anytime and talk to him about the matter, said Schlierenzauer, who assured: “I really appreciate that the sport is growing, especially on the women’s side.”
However, Lundby cannot understand Schlierenzauer’s concerns about safety. “If you look at ski flying in the 80s, they almost killed themselves. And yet nobody questioned it. […] The material is so much better today and everything is safer. But it feels like ski flying is only for men. And that’s the worst,” said the Norwegian.