With the winter Olympics around the corner, my congratulations go out to the incredible Olympian ski-jumper Abby (Hughes) Ringquist. For Abby, it’s truly been a long time coming (if you’ll pardon the pun). She tugged at my heartstrings more than a decade ago, when a very young and talented Abby told me she just wished the IOC would let her and her friends jump in the Olympic Games. I was with the LA84 Foundation, who brought Abby to L.A. to honor her at our National Girls and Women Sports Day awards ceremony, an event which occurs in early February. I remember how her plea echoed in my mind, from once upon a time when I was a marathon runner without an Olympic opportunity.
As you’ll read in the attached chapter, in my time, I joined the International Runners Committee to move our distance events forward, through lobbying the marathon into the Games successfully, but forcibly pushing the 5000 and 10,000-meter events through an international lawsuit. Like the runners, the ski-jumpers took their cause through the courts using the IRC lawsuit as their model. We both had the same end results.
While neither group prevailed in court, despite proving a clear case for discrimination, both groups were rewarded in the end with the inclusion of our respective events in subsequent Olympic Games. This brings to mind that sometimes you may lose a battle, but you can still win the war. (War is not my favorite analogy, but it’s fitting enough.)
Well, dreams do come true, especially if you’re persistent enough to pursue them.
Next week is again National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and the Winter Games begin. Congratulations, Abby!
Please join me in cheering her on.
Here is the full story, as it appears in my book, A Long Time Coming —