02/06/2014 08:23 am ET | Updated Feb 08, 2014

This Is The First Year Women Can Ski Jump At The Olympics. Here Are 7 Other Sports We've Been Barred From.

AFP via Getty Images

After decades of campaigning and a full 90 years since the first men's competition, women will finally compete in Olympic ski jumping at the Sochi 2014 Games.

Despite the fact that men's Olympic ski jumping has been around since the 1924 games, women have spent the last few decades campaigning for inclusion. This year, the first ever U.S. women's ski jumping team will include Lindsay Van, 29, Jessica Jerome, 27, and reigning world champion Sarah Hendrickson, who is just 19 years old.

Although the reasons women were prevented from participating in the Olympic sport were mainly logistical, barring women from specific sports is rooted in gender bias -- particularly the dusty old notion that rigorous physical activity is dangerous to women's reproductive organs.

Overall, 2014 is a good year for gender equality in the Winter Olympics -- women will ski jump, and compete in "mixed relays" with male teammates in luge and biathlon. But even today, full inclusion in the Winter Games still eludes female athletes. While men can compete in a 10,000 meter speed skating race (and have since 1924), women are cut off at 5,000 meters. And the Nordic combined (part cross-country and part ski jump) excludes women all together -- pretty senseless now that women compete both events separately.

We've rounded up a list of seven Winter Olympic sports that took their time incorporating women -- and one that still hasn't.

  • Cross-Country Skiing: 1952
    LIFE magazine, February 8, 1960
    First men's competition: 1924
    Cross-country was the last of the ski disciplines to go co-ed, but ladies still got an early start compared to other sports. Look how "pretty and eligible" the women's ski team was in 1960.
  • Speed Skating: 1960
    First men's competition: 1924
    Women competed in international competitions for over 30 years before ladies' speed skating officially debuted in the 1960 Olympic games.
  • Biathlon: 1992
    Associated Press
    First men's competition: 1924
    With origins in Norwegian military training, the biathlon combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Because, of course. Biathletes carry their rifles for the duration of the race. This year, men and women will compete in a mixed relay together for the first time.
  • Curling: 1998
    Associated Press
    Men's competition: 1924
    Curling really had to hustle before it was fully incorporated into the Olympic games. It was included only as a "demonstration sport" in many games between 1924 and 1998 before finally earning official status, when a women's event was also added.
  • Ice Hockey: 1998
    Atsushi Tomura via Getty Images
    First men's competition: 1924
    Perhaps people thought women's hockey was less fun to watch, given women's terribly boring habit of using their words to work out disagreements.
  • Bobsleigh: 2002
    AP Photo/Mike Groll
    First men's competition: 1924
    While the cruel injustice of "Cool Runnings" seemed to be the dismissal of a Jamaican bobsled team, we bet you didn't know that at those 1988 games, women did not have a bobsleigh event. Women, we (now) have a bobsled team. This year, Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones will compete in bobsledding.
  • Ski Jumping: 2014
    Adam Pretty via Getty Images
    Ski jumping will be offered for women for the first time ever at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Winners scores are given based on distance, style, inrun length and wind conditions. Luckily, women are famously good multi-taskers
  • Nordic Combined: Still Waiting...
    Cultura/Manuel Sulzer via Getty Images
    First men's competition: 1924
    The Nordic Combined includes cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Women compete in Olympic cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Here are all the women allowed to compete in the Nordic Combined in 2014.


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