More than 60 skiers took part Sunday in the 109th annual Norge International Ski Jump Tournament in Fox River Grove, but it was the nine women competitors who had extra motivation this year.
For the first time, women ski jumpers will be competing for medals at next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, something long overdue according to some of the competitors at this weekend's Norge event.
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"It's really crazy to think that, in the first place they didn't even allow girls (to jump)," said 13-year-old Cara Larson of the Norge Ski Club. "Which is offensive. It's just as dangerous for girls as it is for guys."
Women traditionally have competed at Norge, but it took it years of effort for them to get an equal shot at Olympic gold. Men have been jumping in the Olympics since the first winter games in 1924.
"It's almost a relief to have women jumping in the games," said Karin Friberg, a 21-year-old member of the VISA Women's Ski Jumping Team-USA. "It's going to be really exciting to watch women competing on the same hill as the men."