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  • Writer's pictureMichael Plugge

Unveiling the changes: a warning sign for the sport

It's the time of the year where FIS reveals the new changes for the upcoming season. The biggest one was already known: the birth of the Inter-Continental Cup. But that's not the only change.

Silje Opseth jumping in Japan (Photo: Getty Images)
Silje Opseth jumping in Japan (Photo: Getty Images)

The Inter-Continental Cup is born

It was already known that the second and third leagues in women's ski jumping, the Continental and the FIS Cup, would disappear and together become the Inter-Continental Cup. FIS has now revealed in their documents that a jumper has to have a FIS-code and be at least 15 years old to start in this competition.


In order for the girls who jump in the Inter-COC to gain access to the World Cup or the Summer Grand Prix, they have to have a top 15 finish in the last or present (Inter-)Continental Cup. Someone who has scored a point in their career in the World Cup or SGP, will automatically qualify to compete at the highest level.


Women continue to be underpaid

While ski jumping in itself is an underpaid sport, the women continue to look at a massive pay gap and a federation that doesn't do anything significant about it. While the distribution continues to be between the top 25, the total prize money increases from 28.120 CHF to 30.229 CHF. In comparison, the men's prize money will increase from 79.000 to 86.100 CHF. So fact of the matter is, that despite this increase, the difference between men and women continue to be tremendous with 65% and is even slightly bigger than last year. The women will still not win anything during a qualification, unlike the men.


The difference in the Inter-Continental Cup has increased even more. While the men get to more than double their prize money, the women get nothing extra. This used to be a league where there was no prize gap, but FIS has created one. A shocking development that looks terrible on FIS and their (already shaky) promotion of the sport.


In the team and duet competitions in the World Cup, the prize money also increased, although it can be considered insignificant. In the team, the number two and three ranked get 500 CHF extra, while with the duet, 900 CHF will be distributed extra to numbers three to eight.


Ski flying grows bigger

The only part where FIS decided to take step forward, is ski flying. The more than successful test in Vikersund last year, and the scientific research that came after it, showed that more women should get a chance to experience the thrill. Last season we saw 15 jumpers on the hill, while this season top 15 and a maximum of 5 extra women will get a chance to compete on the biggest hill, if a jumper is 18 on the day of the first training.


Another big step forward is the amount of prize money that will be distributed between these 20 women. The winner of a competition will write 10.000 CHF onto their bank account. The total prize money is 66.300 CHF.


Warning signs as progress stagnates

In conclusion, while the development in ski flying is undeniably big, it is disheartening to see that the overall progress of women's ski jumping remains stagnant and, in some cases, even regress. The widening pay gap, the creation of disparities within the Continental Cup and even the disappearing of the FIS Cup raise concerns about the direction in which the sport is heading. It is crucial for FIS to take a good look at the warning signs and the direction women's ski jumping is heading. Women's ski jumping deserves better and it is crucial for that the governing body take action and lead the sport towards a more brighter future.

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