Australia and Olympic Ski Jumping
Australia is yet to make an Olympic debut in ski jumping. The closest an Australian has come to competing in the event was with Hal Nerdal in 1960 who took part in the 60m jump as part of the Nordic Combined event.
Ski jumping has been on the program of every Winter Games. In Chamonix 1924, the men's Normal Hill (70m) was contested. In Innsbruck in 1964, the Large Hill (90m) was added to the program and in Calgary 1988, a men's team event (90m) was included. From 1994 onwards the scale of the hills changed with the Normal Hill being 90m and the Large Hill being 120m. The team event also used the large 120m hill. Women’s ski jumping will be contested for the first time at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, with one event - the Normal Hill (90m).
Since its introduction to the Olympic Games program, the ski jumping competition has been dominated by the Scandinavian countries where ski-jumping originated. Simon Amman from Switzerland however won both of the individual events in 2002 and 2010.
Ski jumping, with athletes travelling the length of a football field through the air and then landing on the snow, is one of the most spectacular winter sports. It is a tricky blend of nerves, sheer power and a nearly scientific application of basic flight properties.
Jumping competitions are decided by a combination of points for distance and style. Points for distance are determined by the length reached in relation to the jump’s critical (K) point. Five judges award each jumper up to 20 points for style. Each competitor jumps twice, with the gold medal going to the jumper with the greatest aggregate points.
Jumpers glide down the in-run in a tucked position and at the end of the jump they launch their body further forward so they appear almost parallel to the ground in flight. They do not have ski poles to assist with acceleration. The skis are held in a ‘V-position’ during the flight, which is proven to be the most aerodynamic position. After about five seconds in the air, skiers land in a telemark position, where one ski is placed in front of the other, knees are bent, the body pressed forward and the movement smooth and precise. A jumper holds this position on the early part of the outrun but relaxes once he crosses the fall line, a marker on the outrun which signals the jump has ended.
Normal Hill Individual - Men and Women
The Normal Hill has a K-point between 75 and 99 metres. All athletes participate in a qualification round and 50 athletes advance through to the first round. After the first round the field is reduced to 30 athletes for the final round. From this round the athlete with the highest total score from these two jumps is declared the winner.
Large Hill Individual - Men
This event is contested on the large hill, which has a K-point larger than 100 metres. Like the individual normal hill there is a qualification round and 50 athletes advance to the first round. In the final round the field is reduced to 30 athletes. There are two jumps (first and final round), and the athlete with the highest total score is declared the winner.
Large Hill Team - Men
This event is usually contested on the large hill. There are four members on each team, and there are two jumps (first and final round). In the first round all teams start. In the final round the field is reduced to the eight best teams. The team with the highest total score over the eight jumps is declared the winner.