Ski jumping was brought to the heart of Oslo, Norway in the 1860s by Sondre Norheim (known as the father of ski jumping), who jumped without poles over a rock and reached a length of 30 metres. This record held for more than three decades.
The desire to jump longer led to the radical new development in 1985 of V-style, where a ski jumper holds his skis in a V-shaped position (instead of parallel) while in the air. Credited with this new style was Swedish ski jumper Jan Boklöv. At the time, most ski jumpers laughed at this innovation and Boklöv was penalized for his unorthodox style. Eventually sport science caught up with Boklöv’s advancement and realized that V-style produced 28% more lift.
Men’s ski jumping has been part of the Olympic Winter Games since the first Games in Chamonix, in 1924. The large hill competition was added for the Innsbruck 1964 Winter Games. Ski jumping is one of the most spectacular of winter sports, with skiers descending a ramp reaching speeds of up to 95 km/hr, then launching themselves into the air for flights of up to 140 metres.
The normal hill is between 85 and 109 metres long. Each athlete’s jump distance is converted to points and combined with judged style marks. The top 35 athletes compete in the final round. The large hill extends above 110 metres and there are both individual and team events on it. Each team has four members and the eight best teams reach the final round.