LAKE PLACID, NY ( Associated Press) — Like her brother, Annika Malasinski dreams of going to the Olympics in Nordic United.
As the cold weather settled at the Olympic Jumping Complex and mount van hovenburg For the last time, she and Niklas trained together in this small town that hosted the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics.
The siblings fearlessly took off with ski jumps and pushed themselves along the paved paths in roller skis along with other Olympic candidates. Through it all, 20-year-old Annika knew she had no shot at competing in China in February.
Nordic combined, which combines ski jumping and cross-country skiing, It is the only Olympic sport without gender equality: there is no women’s competition in the Games.
“I think it is absurd that a person can fulfill his dreams in this upcoming year and one has to insist to fulfill it in 2026,” she said.
Niklas Malasinski, who, like his sister, holds US-Finnish dual citizenship, agreed.
“That’s not right,” he said. “Even if we’re both in the same game, it’s hard to talk about goals with her because I don’t want to be told that I’m bragging about what I have a chance to do, and she doesn’t “
Malachinsky, 18, finished sixth in the US trials and missed out on being one of five Americans competing in the Nordic joint in China. Perhaps at the Milan-Cortina Games in 2026, both sister and brother from Steamboat Springs, Colorado will have a chance to go to sleep.
The International Olympic Committee’s executive board considered an application in 2018 that would have allowed women to compete jointly in Nordic at the Beijing Games. After discussions with the International Ski Federation, the application was rejected.
IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell said, “The inclusion of any women’s events in the Olympic Games is really important for promoting gender equality, but they have to be at an appropriate level to be included in the Olympic Games and compete for an Olympic medal.” ” 2018. 2018. “We’ve seen growth in that regard. But I think there was a general feeling that we need to look at further development in terms of the universality, the competitiveness of the event, and its attractiveness and following, before the discussions for 2026 happen again.” Is.
Talks will resume later this year. In June, the IOC’s executive board is expected to decide on an application to jointly grant women in the Nordic access to Olympic gold in 2026.
Women in sport, and advocates for their participation in the Olympics, are optimistic about Italy’s chances of getting involved. More than 30 female athletes are competing at the sport’s highest level this winter, following the debut World Cup season for women a year ago.
“I’d be surprised if we’re not able to bring them in, though you never know,” Lasse Otesen, joint race director for FIS Nordic, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “We have seen great growth in the last two years. We have more and more nations participating, and athletes have evolved very quickly to get to a good level. Our approach has checked all the boxes.
“Gender equality is important to the IOC and the FIS, and the inclusion of Nordic in it will complete the program at the Olympics.”
While the IOC will likely face another round of questions and criticism when the Games begin with the closure of women in the Nordic United, the governing body is proud to point to reforms aimed at gender equality. .
The IOC said the Beijing Games would set new marks for female competitors and women’s sports in 2018 based on decisions taken by its executive board, increasing from 41% four years ago to 45%.
Mixed team formats, such as the one in ski jumping, were added to give women more opportunities, and sports such as speed skating now have as many women as men competing in the Olympics for the first time.
Tara Gerhaghty-Motts is in no mood to celebrate.
Geraghty-Motts wins first World Cup Nordic combined competition for women In December 2020 after being a two-time champion of the second level Continental Cup. She was disappointed that the rest of the debut season’s events were canceled during the pandemic and not rescheduled as some of the men’s competitions.
Last spring, she switched to biathlon.
“Being at the Nordic combined gave me an idea of what the Olympics is, which is not an ancient image,” Geraghty-Motts told the Associated Press. “The FIS doesn’t have a lot of power over the IOC, and no one holds the IOC accountable.”
Earlier this month, women and men competed together in the first World Cup mixed team event at Nordic United. Annika Malasinski, along with Alexa Brebeck, Taylor Fletcher and Jared Schumat, ranked the Americans sixth out of eight countries in Italy.
She lamented the gender inequality that would force her and other women to wait and hoped they would get a chance to live out their dreams in four years.
“I think it’s crazy that we’re living in the 20th century and we’re still experiencing inequality not only in our daily lives, but in a game that we put our souls into,” she said. said. “Don’t feel good at all. As much as I love Nordic United, it’s absolutely horrifying how to fight with other girls by my side to get it out of the world. We’re the only Olympic sport in which for no reason at all.” There are both men and women in sports, not everyone.”
Follow Larry Ledge at https://twitter.com/larrylage
More Associated Press Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports