When Man Meets Bird

By: Spela K

When thinking about winter sports many often forget ski jumping. It is a sport dating back to the beginning of the nineteenth century when a Danish-Norwegian lieutenant wanted to show courage to his fellow soldiers by jumping 9.5 metres. The sport has since then evolved, growing in popularity and respect by sports organisations. It has been an olympic sport since 1924, and a special discipline, ski flying, has developed from it.

This sport is not for the squeamish as one has to slide down a steep in-run, jumping off the table with as much power as possible, and flying down a steeply-sloped hill. Ski jumping is an outdoor sport, so wind conditions also affect the movement of the athlete during flight. Besides that the technique of the jumper is very important, as every flick of the wrist affects the length of the jump. The result of each ski jumper is also affected by the style of the jump. There are five judges that judge the jumps and award points out of twenty, yet only the points of the median three are added to the score, which is mainly comprised of the length and wind and starting gate. It is a magnificent sport as each athlete has their own technique.

Today, ski jumping is governed by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and has its own World Cup forScreen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.23.22 pm.png both males and females, yet women had to fight hard to get their own World Cup in 2011 and to make women’s ski jumping a part of the Winter Olympics in 2014. Two films have been made to reveal all of the struggles that women have had to go through just to get the taste of equal opportunities as their male counterparts. Even though some may regard their participation as equality, they still have about ten less competitions than the men. However, more safety precautions are taken in the women’s World Cup, and they also do not have ski flying competitions.

Nevertheless, men’s ski jumping is still more known and celebrated. In the World Cup the winter season lasts from November until March. The competitions are spread all throughout Europe, with a weekend in Japan, and the slopes vary in size, from a normal hill, large, to flying hill. As in other ski World Cups, there is a point system that awards points to athletes by their results. There are three different categories: Overall, Ski Flying, and Nations Cup. Ski jumping is also more known in countries like Austria, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Slovenia, so it is no wonder why they dominate the World Cup standings.

Even though to some, ski jumping seems like an unusual and uncommon sport to some, it has many dedicated followers from the countries listed above. That is why it is not surprising that tens of thousands of fans attend these spectacles to experience the jumps in person.

Ski jumping is a sport where you are able to admire man’s capabilities. Not many can say that they are able to fly farther than a quarter of a kilometre! Even as a spectator watching ski jumpers, you are
left in awe of the ingenuity of the sport and the athletes. It is a very special sport that not many practice and is not popular all around the globe like soccer. Nonetheless, it is a sport that has captured the hearts of many, winter sports enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, and many more.

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