Quick Intro: Ski Jumping In The Olympics
Looking for a quick intro: ski jumping in the Olympics? Ski jumping is a sport in which skiers take off from a slope, or a jump, and go air-borne, covering the longest distance possible. Points are awarded for both distance and style in the competition, and the cleanliness of a landing is important.
Ski jumping was first introduced into the Olympic Games in 1924 at Charmonix Mont-Blanc. There, athletes faced-off in the 120-meter large hill competition. The first gold-medal winner in the event was Jacob Tullin of Norway.
By 1964, and additional event — the normal hill competition at 90 meters — was added to complement the large hill competition. Veikko Kankkonen of Finland became the first athlete to win a gold medal in the normal hill competition.
In 1988, a team event was added to the ski-jumping competition schedule. In the team event, four jumpers compete in two rounds, and the top three scores are counted in the final score. The first team to win a gold medal represented Finland.
Though it took until 1924 for ski jumping to be included in the Olympic Games, the sport itself is much older. The first ski jump was recorded in 1808, where Olaf Rye covered a distance of 9.5 meters. By 1866, Sondre Norheim, considered the father of modern ski jumping, set a record which would last three decades by jumping 30 meters over a rock.
Shortly after World War I, Thulin Thams and Sigmund Ruud were credited with creating a new jumping style dubbed the Konsberger Technique. With a the new style, athletes would bend their body at the hips and lean forward, extend their arms over their head, and keep their skis parallel to one another. Sepp Bradi of Austria was the first to jump more than 100 m using the technique when he hit the 101 meter-mark in 1936.
By the 1950s, the evolving technique was again changed. This time, Swiss jumper Andreas Doescher held his arms back by his body and leaned forward in an even more extreme position than those before him. By 1985, Swedish jumped Jan Bokloev again helped the sport to evolve when he spread the tips of his skis into a v-shaped formation. By 1992, all ski jumpers were using the technique.
Jumping skis used today are 1.5 times as wide as alpine skis. The set can weigh up to 16 pounds.
Currently, ski jumping can be found in five different Olympic events, including men's individual normal hill, men's individual large hill, men's team competition, individual nordic combined, and team nordic comined. All five events are for men. Women do not compete in ski jumping.
There was a push to include ski jumping events for women at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, but the International Olympic Committee turned down the official proposal, because, according to IOC President Jacques Rogge, the committee did not want to present "diluted and watered down" medals. According to the IOC, there are not enough female athletes or countries participating to make the sport part of women's Olympic competition.