Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ski jumping is a winter sport in which skiers go down a hill with a take-off ramp (the jump), attempting to go as far as possible. In addition to the length, referees give points for style, on a scale from 1 to 20. The skis used for ski jumping are wide and long, with parallel sides.
The origin of ski jumping was in Morgedal, Norway, but the first proper competition was held in Trysil in 1862. The first widely known ski jumping competition was held in Husebybakken, Oslo, in 1879. The yearly event was moved to Holmenkollen from 1892, and Holmenkollen has remained the Mecca of ski jumping ever since. In addition to the separate sport of ski jumping, with the three events of "normal hill", "large hill", and "team competition", ski jumping is one of two elements in Nordic combined.
Competition and technique
Today, World Cup ski jumping competitions are mostly held on "small ramps", where distances of about up to 110 meters are reached, and "big ramps", where the maximum distance is about 130 meters.
Using the modern V-technique, pioneered by Jan Boklöw of Sweden, world-level skiers are able to exceed the distance of the take-off hill by about 10 percent compared to the previous technique with parallel skis. Aerodynamics has become a factor of increasing importance in modern ski jumping, with recent rules addressing the regulation of ski jumping suits (following a period when "holes" in the rules seemed to favour skinny jumpers in stiff, "air foil"-like suits).
So-called ski flying events are held on particularly large ramps (such as the one in Planica, Slovenia, or the Kulm, Austria). The current ski flying world record, set by Björn Einar Romören on March 20, 2005, stands at distance of 239 meters.
Ski jumping is popular among spectators and TV audiences in Scandinavia and Central Europe. Almost all world-class ski jumpers come from those regions or from Japan. Traditionally, the strongest countries (with consistently strong teams) are Finland, Norway, Germany (formerly both East and West), and Austria. However, there always have been successful ski jumpers from other countries as well (see list below). The Four Hills Tournament, held annually at four sites in Bavaria and Austria around New Year, is very popular and draws huge crowds.
There have been attempts to spread the popularity of the sport by finding ways by which the construction and upkeep of practising and competition venues can be made easier. These include plastic "fake snow" to provide a slippery surface even during the summer time and in locations where snow is a rare occurrence, and the Ski jumping sling invented by Spede Pasanen which allows construction of an inexpensive and unobtrusive jumping tower.
Notable ski jumpers
Former World Cup ski jumpers
- Jan Boklöw (Sweden)
- Espen Bredesen (Norway)
- Sepp Bradl (Austria)
- Matjaž Debelak (Yugoslavia)
- Christof Duffner ((West) Germany)
- Andreas Felder (Austria)
- Kazuyoshi Funaki (Japan)
- Lars Grini (Norway)
- Armin Kogler (Austria)
- Anton Innauer (Austria)
- Toni Nieminen (Finland)
- Matti Nykänen (Finland)
- Franci Petek (Yugoslavia)
- Helmut Recknagel (East Germany)
- Birger Ruud (Norway)
- Walter Steiner (Switzerland)
- Dieter Thoma (West Germany / Germany)
- Primož Ulaga (Yugoslavia)
- Ernst Vettori (Austria)
- Bjørn Wirkola (Norway)
- Jens Weissflog (East Germany / Germany)
- Janne Ahonen (Finland)
- Simon Ammann (Switzerland)
- Sven Hannawald (Germany)
- Andreas Goldberger (Austria)
- Stephan Hocke (Germany)
- Jakub Janda (Czech Republic)
- Adam Małysz (Poland)
- Thomas Morgenstern (Austria)
- Primož Peterka (Slovenia)
- Martin Schmitt (Germany)
- Andreas Widhölzl (Austria)
Notable unsuccessful ski jumpers
- Vinko Bogataj - Best known as "The Agony of Defeat"
- Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards - Popular favourite at the 1988 Winter Olympics
Former ski jumpers (not active in the World Cup, but somewhat notable in the US)
- The Flying Bietila Brothers , including three-time U.S. Olympian Walter Bietila and his brothers Roy, Ralph, Paul, Leonard and Jackie (United States)
Ski jumping World Cup
Four hills tournament
Of some regional importance in the US (but not a World Cup site)
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