The history of Olympic ski jumping has a surprisingly long history, including a rich history prior to Olympic competition. It is exciting to watch Olympic ski jumpers perform at their best, but you may be wondering how this sport came to be. This article will outline all of the information you need to know about the history of Olympic ski jumping.
Like many other Nordic and ski sports, ski jumping had its beginnings in Norway. The first recorded ski jump took place in 1808 when a Norwegian named Ole Rye jumped 9.5m. Another Norwegian, Sondre Norheim, is considered the father of modern ski jumping and won the first recorded ski jumping competition in 1866.
The history of ski jumping saw two major developments after World War I. First, Thulin Thams and Sigmund Ruud developed a new style of jumping, known as the Kongsberger Technique. This technique encouraged athletes to bend their upper bodies at the hips, arms extended forward and skis parallel to one another. This technique led to the first jump of over 100m. Second, ski jumping was included in the Olympics for the first time in 1924 in Chamonix Mont-Blanc.
The history of ski jumping progressed further in the mid '50s when the technique was further developed to have a more aggressive forward lean and to hold the arms backwards. A last major development in 1985 proposed that jumpers spread the tips of their skis into a “V” shape. This development was not originally well received, but proved to be so effective that all medalists were using it by 1992.
Equipment has developed drastically during the history of Olympic ski jumping. Modern equipment includes jumping skis, bindings, boots, and a jumping suit. Skis are specially designed and manufactured for ski jumping. The maximum length of the ski is 146 percent of the height of the athlete. The curvature and shape of the skis is regulated by strict standards.
Bindings are placed so that 57 percent of the length is in the front of the binding. Further, a connection cord connects the ski to the boot and prevents the skis from wobbling during the jump. The boots are high back and firm, but allow enough flexibility for the athletes to lean forward during the jump. The jumping suit is made from the same material throughout and follows rules pertaining to air permeability and material thickness.
There are three men’s ski jumping events in the modern Olympics: the individual large hill competition, the individual normal hill competition and the large hill team competition. The individual events give each athlete two jumps and the highest combined score wins. Athletes are judged on both the distance of their jump and their technique. The team competition has four jumpers on each team and the field is reduced to eight teams after the first jump.