An Overview of Ski Jumping

Utah Olympic ParkThe following is an exerpt from content posted at

Ski jumping saw radical new development in 1985 with the innovative V-style, where a ski jumper holds his skis in a V-shaped position (instead of parallel) while in the air. Swedish ski jumper Jan Boklöv was the first athlete to employ this technique, after suffering an in-air seizure, using the technique to save himself from a crash landing. Other competitors quickly realized that V-style produced additional lift – was later verified to create 28 per cent more lift – and universally adopted the style.

Men’s ski jumping has been part of the Olympic Winter Games since the first Games in Chamonix, in 1924. The large hill competition was added for the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck.

Ski jumping for women has been recognized by the FIS, and will compete in the World Championships for the first time in Liberec, CZE in 2009.

Two jumps are used in Olympic competition: normal hill and large hill, with the normal hill being the smaller of the two. The jump’s actual height is of little importance; it’s the length of jump that the hill is designed to accommodate that’s key. Athletes can travel 105 metres on a normal hill and 140 metres on a large hill. The only American to win an Olympic medal in ski jumping is Anders Haugen, who placed 4th in 1932, but due to the discovery of a calculation error more than 50 years after the competition, he was awarded a bronze medal.

The current world record is 239 meters, and it required a full 9 seconds of flight time to cover that distance! Video here:

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