Competitive ski jumper Alissa Johnson, ranked ninth in overall Continental Cup standings, will address more than 500 local female athletes at the annual Women and Girls in Sports Luncheon hosted by the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table.

Alissa Johnson

Alissa Johnson

Johnson will share her lifelong passion for ski jumping and her efforts to gain inclusion of female ski jumpers in the Winter Olympics.

This year’s luncheon will be held Monday, Feb. 2 in Warren Hall at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

For Johnson, ski jumping is a family affair. With the guidance and support of her father, a longtime coach in the sport, she began competitive ski jumping at age 5. Her younger brother also trained in the sport, and both he and Johnson shared aspirations to compete at the Olympic level.

Unfortunately for Johnson, the International Olympic Committee barred female athletes from competition due to concerns that the sport was not suitable for women. Johnson became one of many prominent female ski jumpers who fought to gain inclusion for women in the Olympics.

Although Johnson trained without the prospect of representing Team USA, she continued to pursue her dreams of competing in the Olympic arena and gained impressive recognition throughout her career as a competitive ski jumper. She has competed in 108 Continental Cups, the highest level of competition for female ski jumpers, and was ranked ninth in overall world standings. In 2012-13, she held 16 top-30 finishes in the World Cup circuit. In 2014, she made history as a competitor in the first Olympic trials available to female ski jumpers.

The annual Women and Girls in Sports Luncheon is held to celebrate the continuing influence of Title IX and to inspire female athletes in the Santa Barbara community to pursue sports.

The public is invited to attend this special event. Click here to register. Tickets are $30 for community members and $15 for students. Sponsorship opportunities are available at the $500, $250 or $50 level. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities and benefits, contact Catharine Manset at cmanset@pacificwesternbank.com.