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Ski jumping is a sport in which competitors, called ski jumpers, try to avoid suicide after being thrown out of the inrun of a jumping hill in the air. The one brave who is able to land furthest without dying or getting severe injury is claimed the winner.
Ski jumping originated in Norway where for over a century from 1809 bored soldiers were jumping off the cliffs to the sea, while having skis attached to their foot. Nowadays, historians consider it as a kind of mobbing or bullying. Regardless, new sport was born and got widespread popularity in Scandinavia, where committing suicides was always considered as a good entertainment.
edit I and V
Nearly through the whole 20th Century, ski jumpers were jumping with their skis kept together, similarly to the cross country skiers in classic style but it was called 'the I style'. The only result of that was high risk of sever injuries of the jumpers who were flying and landing at extreme speeds.
But in the late 80's, the Swedish clown Jan Boklov invented new ski jumping technique. Due to his severe case of rickets, he kept his skis in the V-position instead of traditional I one. He and his coach discovered that he was able to fly further but slower and - as the result - safer. However Boklov was tormented by all judges at all competitions he participated in. His notes for a jump were always lower than the others. But Boklov was not giving a shit about them and won 1988-89 World Cup because his technique allowed him to jump several meters longer the the opponents.
However, dinosaurs in the governing body that regulates ski jumping (Fédération Internationale de Ski, or simply FIS) decided that V-style should be allowed to use by all ski jumpers. The main reason of that was the absuolute domination of Boklov over the other ski jumpers and the sport itself became boring. After allowing all jumpers to use the V-style, Boklov became again what he was destined to be - an average, anonymous ski jumper that's not able to achieve any success.
In not quite certain past, some dude who was watching ski jumping event in Telemark, Norway, indicated that ski jumpers land in a very ugly way "on both feet". Other observers agreed and hence the style of landing we know today - telemark. To land in telemar the skijumper needs to put his front foot before the back foot like in the kneeling but he can't touch the ground by his knee. There was a hidden reason in introducing this rule - landing in telemark increases risk of falling at landing. It's less safe.
You can imagine that at the time when ski jumpers were using both telemark and I-style, severe injuries were common.
edit Wind factor
The most important factor in the ski jumping is the wind. Actually, wind decides who wins. If you have wind which blows under your skis - you fly further but if it blows you in your back, you fly shorter (quite opposite to the running). In the past wind was responsible for the serious injuries of many ski jumpers as technical directors of competitions were never aware of the danger caused by wind. Therefore many ski jumpers were blown away by the wind.
The BMI was introduced to ski jumping in order to prevent ski jumpers from dying due to anorexia. That was a smart move and saved lives of several German and Russian ski jumpers. However, some ski jumpers were naturally thin and BMI forced them to put on weight or shorten their skis and that of course would shorten their jumps. Sigurd Pettersen, Norwegian jumper needed to put on 15 kilos. He was not able to and from the good jumper he became loser.
edit Contemporary ski jumping
Nowadays ski jumping is a big commercialised circus touring around the Europe and (occasionally) Japan. Similarly to the world's fashion of making everything safer, ski jumping became as safe as possible. Ski jumpers now fly lower than in the past. They also fly slower as the inruns are shorter. Nowadays there are even less fals and injuries than in the past.
Ski jumping does not exist outside the north hemisphere but nobody cares about that.
All ski jumping events are governed by the FIS federation and it's director Walter Hofer who proclaimed himself a God and he is even treated with accurate respect. Actually, whatever he says - is a rule.
Oh, and if you didn't spot it - ski jumping is not a winter sport. It can be practiced in winter of course but nowadays due to global warming, summer ski jumping became extremely popular. So you don't need snow anymore for ski jumping.
edit Rules of ski jumping
The first rules of ski jumping were written in the 19th century by Norwegian people. But they were written in funny language thus nobody could understand it. In 20th century new rules were written and now they are supplemented when needed. Rules as of the 2010 are following:
- Walter Hofer is your God of ski jumping.
- You always need to agree with Walter Hofer.
- You need to be a white or yellow male from north hemisphere to participate in the ski jumping event.
- You need to have a pair of proper skis that you could use to jump.
- You must not use farting in order to gain an extra height at the take-off.
- You must not use the parachute in order to gain extra length of the jump.
- You always need to wait for green light before starting the inrun.
- You must not care about the wind conditions if you got the green light.
- You must not die while landing on the outrun.
- You need to use the only acceptable telemark technique while landing.
- You must not fly shorter than Eddie the Eagle or Robert Mateja.
- You must not crash in more tremendous way than Vinko Bogataj "The Agony of Defeat man".
- You need yo hate all Nordic combined skiers.
- Everything said by Walter Hofer becomes a new rule.
- Walter Hofer is in charge of suspending all rules above.
As we could see - rules of ski jumping are very simple. The parachute rule is often extended to the usage of ski jumper's garb. It can't be too loose becasue then ski jumper would fly too far away.
edit The typical jump
Before the typical jump, ski jumper is preparing himself mentally to it. Well, it's not weird if you realize that you will be thrown out of the inrun at the 100 km/h speed and you will be approaching the ground at only minimally lesser speed. Then ski jumper needs to sit on the log that's attached at the inrun and need to wait for the green light. Ususally, the guy who turns the light on, will turn the red ligth on forcing him to go down. This guy is called Miran Tepes and he is the right hand of Walter Hofer. His popular excuse of turning the red light on are "wind conditions" or "I don't like this guy really". Miran Tepes was heavily criticized in 2007 when he let his fellow Slovenian Rok Urbanc take the jump at extremely strong wind. That let this poor ski jumper actually win the event beating all the other competitors by big amount of points. The problem was not actually win itself but the fact that he didn't allow any other ski jumper to jump in such conditions.
When the green light is on, the skijumper needs to close his eyes and slide off the log forcing himself to run towards the end of the inrun at dramatically increasing speed. In the past the jumpers needed to care about their feet positions as there were no slots for the skis. But still, not every ski jumper is able to ride downhill without problems even though it's considered the easiest part of the jump. This is shown in the famous case of  who fell off the log and slided on his back to the end of the inrun, harvesting by the way all the sticks put in the inrun for a decorational purpose.
All ski jumpers needs to fit in the 0,02 second boundary of "good take-off". If they do it too early or too late - the jump will be short and danmgerous for their life. You probably guessed that most of the ski jumpers got problem with fitting in the boundary. In some famous cases, ski jumpers actually frgot to do a take-off what resulted in faboulous crashes of South Korean jumper Choi and German Frank Loffler showed it's possible to forget it even though you are a proffesional ski jumper. However, despite the lack of take-off, Loffler was able to land telemark but fell anyway.
One of the most orgasmic part of the jump. Ski jumper flies in the air and feels every single touch of wind over all his parts of body. He flies for about 1-3 seconds. He needs to "lay" slightly over the skis to be more aerodynamic. However, Czech Jakub Janda lays between, or even under the skis and using this eccentric technique he actually won the World Cup. Ski jumper should focus on not moving while flying but some jumpers, like Robert Mateja, preferred constant moving and twitching while flying but it never resulted in anything positive.
The most dangerous part of the jump. Most of poor ski jumpers prefer to land safely in the Finnish way - with both feet together. But if ski jumper wants to get more points, he needs to risk his life and gesundheit by landing in telemark. However some ski jumpers prefer to land on their heads, backs or asses, especially if they forget it's not freestyle skiing.
edit Ski jumping hills
Ski jumping hills are... hills or mountains with inrun and outrun built on it. They look like some penis with tongue. Ski jumping hills are usually in small villages that did not deserve that and those villages live only during the ski jumping events. Of course all hills are placed on north hemisphere in countries that experience snow at least occasionally.
Some hills are smallish and in theory nobody can be hurt on them (with some Dutch exception, but later about it). Some are average and big, where World Cup competitions are held. And there are few monsters where ski jumpers fly over 200 metres and quite often hurt themselves while falling.
All hills got their K and HS points. The K point is named after G point becaus it's most important in jumping - it's the length where all distance points are based. The HS point is a Holy Shit point - the length where only certain death awaits for a jumper.
edit (In)famous jumping hills
Suicide Hill, Ishpeming, MI, USA
Famous American decent sized jumping hill with K-90. Name was given because American laymans had no freaking idea that ski jumping is actually a sport and thought it's a place for commmitting suicide. Some retarded cults actually committed there some mass suicides so the name suits perfectly.
Letalnica, Planica. Slovenia
The biggest mammoth jumping hill in the world. The smallish slovenia has most jumping hills/square km. Wherever you go you can find jumping hill. However Slovenians are tired of them and no longer care about it. But at the times they gave any shit about ski jumping, they decided to build "da biggest hill ever". And they built Velikanka, later renamed Letalnica due to copyright infrigment. The Letalnica's record is 239 metres by Bjoern Einar Romoeren.
Olympic Ski Jumping Hill in Hakuba, Japan
Wholly made of metal ski jumping hill is quite interesting in its design. The jumping hill includes river that crosses the outrun in half and the bridge that is hung over the outrun and if ski jumper jumps too heigh, he may cut his head off the metal parts. Hill in Hakuba was built for tremendous cost of 50 million $ and investors will start to earn circa 2095 but only if Japanese government will still donate to them. Another interesting thing about Hakuba hill is that the wind conditions always disturb the event. Yet there was no normal event in Hakuba.
The Big Krokiew, Zakopane, Poland
One of the things that the Poles most certainly care about. When World Cup arrives to the Poland, everybody goes to Zakopane in a way similar to Muslims pilgriming to Mekkah. However, the hill is nearly ruined and FIS indicated several times to rebuild it but Poles do not care about it and they think that The Big Krokiew is the most awesome hill in the world.
Mühlenkopfschanze, Willingen, Germany
The biggest of the big jumping hill (not to be confused with mammoth hills) is known for its wrongly measured K-point. For many years it was K-120. But one day an anynymous engineer spotted that it's actually wrong and it should be K-130. K-point was moved without rebuilding. So nowadays the record of 151,5 metres of Adam Małysz is not that faboulous as it's just 21,5 meters over K. In past, people thought it was 31,5 meters over K and that was looking definetely better.
Rukatunturi, Kuusamo, Finland
Not much is known about that hill but it has funny name.
edit Ski jumping teams and ski jumpers
In the past, that was one of the best teams. Such jumpers like Sven Hannawald or Martin Schmitt were well-known in Germany and were winning many competitions but they were more often losing to the fucking Pole - Adam Małysz. Due to this fact Sven Hannawald got anorexia and severe depression and gradually retired from proffesional sport. Martin Schmitt also got depression and recently in 2010, anorexia. From now on suffering from anorexia is considered a natural event in the life of every German ski jumper.
Adam Małysz, Adam Małysz, Adam Małysz, Adam Małysz and once again Adam Małysz - that's what the Poles only care about. Actually Adam Małysz is the only ski jumper in Poland you can describe in positive way. He won four World Cups and four World Championships. Well... about the rest of the team... Tomisław Tajner the son of coach was embarrasing himself in an every jump he did. Robert Mateja became synonymous of short jump with high risk of severe injury. Marcin Bachleda and Tomasz Pochwała showed that you neither have to be talented nor skilled to be a proffesional ski jumper.
Austria has so many ass-kicking ski jumpers that most of the world already lost their count. At the same time they are able to have 6 jumpers in the first 10 of any jumping hill. One retires, they find another and so on. They had so many jumpers that even Arnold Schwarzeneger was competing for Austria and even won the bronze medal in Nagano.
Switzerland is a team made of two proffesional jumpers - Simon Ammann and Andreas Kuettel. They don't need any more. First one is Olympic and World Champion and the second one is World Champion. The case of other ski jumpers is similar to Poland.
Alcohol is your best friend at training! With that motto Lars Bystoel won his three medals (one gold; two bronze) in Torino. However, he also started to take drugs and it was not a good decision as he quickly became loser. Another famous Norwegian ski jumper is Sigurd Pettersen who is the best example of ski jumper who falls from peak of his career to its bottom. He was good, he was winning and then, apparently due to Walter Hofer's irritation, some rules changed and he had to use shorter skis from 2004 what totally ruined his career.
There are several good Finnish ski jumpers but what's characteristic all of them are either black metal singers or apathetic guys unable to show any emotions. For example Ville Kantee retired early in order to become an unknown singer and Janne "The Mask" Ahonen did not smile during whole his career even when he won World Cup.
Apparently, there are no real people in Japanese team. They're rather robots because nearly all Japanese ski jumpers are older than 35 (some have 40) and the age of 33, 34 or 35 is the best age for retirement for any particular ski jumper. Japanese do not care about that.
Recently Japanese ski jumpers introduced some sumo wrestlers to the sport as they claim fastest speed at the end of inrun is the key to victory. As we know, fatter you are, faster you are. At least in ski jumping and luge.
Japanese ski jumpers also got the best financial condidtions. They are donated by government as long as they want to train regardless the age.
edit United States
Actually, US sucks at ski jumping. They had one good jumper circa 2002 but he decided to give up ski jumping in order to become pilot. He wanted to fly higher and longer.
Funnily, this 2 million nation got many ski jumpers and the most jumping hills per km sq. from any known country. They also got the biggest one jumping hill (Letalnica). They got a good team but we can point out that they change ski jumpers more often than average guy changes slips.
In order to not abuse and blame young Chinese ski jumpers, ski jumping has no future in China. At least, this is a sport in which China will never win a gold medal.
Trivia: In an individual competition in Universiade 2009 in Chinese Harbin, Peilin Gong, one of their ski jumpers achieved rare feat as he got total score lower than 0...
Compared to Hungarian ski jumpers, China is even quite good. It's unbelievable how bad can be a certain nation in a sport. Hungarian ski jumpers occasionally compete in less important competition regularly occuping the last positions. And to make the matters worse, lengths of their jumps are so short that it's actually hard to imagine to be able land there.
In order to visualise, in one competition Armin Csukovics from Hungary had 44 meters long jump (on K90 what is reaaaaly short), in theory it was correct ski jump consisting of take-off, short jump and landing. Later in that competition, Austrian ski jumper Thomas Turnbichler made a mistake at take-off and nearly fell on the head. Thank to his abilities, he landed safely but still jumped longer distance than Armin Csukovics.
edit Great Britain
We claim Hungary the worst nation in the ski jumping world because they have many ski jumpers and all are worst. But Great Britian achieved something extraordinary. They had a ski jumper who was a complete failure, who reached such an incompetence in this sport that he was seriously banned from competing after Olympic Games in Calgary. His name was Eddie Edwards, better known as Eddie the Eagle. He was last in all competitions he took part in, he broke bones 17 times but always returned. Finally, after Olympic Games, Walter Hofer invented Eddie the Eagle rule which banned him from competing. The rule stated than nobody can start in Olympic Games if he didn't get into best 30 ski jumpers in competitions and didn't do it 30% of times he started. Additionally, every competition will have prequalification in which the worst ski jumpers will be eliminated.
Sounds complicated but that simply meant: No more Eddie Eagles.
Eddie was commercially the most successful ski jumper. He was a guest in all American talk shows (like Late Night with Somebody) and he earned over one million dollars due to his inepitude with ski jumping.
edit Ski jumping culture
This kind of thing actually exists only in two countries: Austria and Poland.
In Austria, supporters of ski jumping support their ski jumpers, love the sport, follow the ski jumpers in different parts of the world during World Cup and generally have very good attitude to Walter Hofer (as he is Austrian.
In Poland ski jumping cultures means praising or blaming Adam Małysz (praising when he wins, blaming when he is lower than 3rd), playing De Luxe Ski Jump PC games and openly hating Walter Hofer.
In USA ski jumping is usually erroneously taken for freestyle skiing.
edit Financial situation of ski jumpers
It's bad. They're poor. If you are ski jumper, you can't do it for money. Most of ski jumpers are not able to live without government's support. Only the best are able to earn enough money to feed their children.
However Walter Hofer seems to be rich. We do not suggest anything.
To show you how awesome ski jumping is, we put here some YouTube videos including best jumps and the most remembered actions from Word Cup, World Championship and Olympic Games.
The first film shows fantastic jump of Polish Łukasz Kruczek who jumped 94 meters on K185 in Planica.
And this film shows the beauty of this dangerous sport (how haven't I used this word earlier?). The ultimate collection of the worst ski jumping crashes. Note that Frederic Berger got hit in head by ski shot in the air with great timing and accuracy and that Bjoern Einar Romoeren lost his ski before take-off.
And here you have a sample of summer ski jumping. Instead of snow a wet plastic is used. Starring American ski jumpers Tim Nelson and Blake Hughes. Note they jumped during hurricane.