Photo: Sean M. Haffey / Staff /Getty Images

This year, many people are particularly fascinated with ski jumping at the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But many don’t really know all the rules or how the scoring is applied. What are “wind points” in ski jumping? We’ve got all the information you need when it comes to ski jumping rules and how ski jumping is scored, so keep reading!

The Winter Olympics 2018 is already on its fourth day, and fans of the event love to watch the ski jumping competitions. Athletes practice for years to perfect their stance, and now, they have the opportunity to go for gold!

Let’s have a closer look at this elegant and stylish sport.

What Is Ski Jumping?

Ski jumping originated in Norway way back in the 18th century. It was then picked up by many other European countries.

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The sport was first featured at the 1924 Winter Olympics in France. However, female athletes were not allowed to participate until 2014!

The United States picked up the sport in the late 19th century, when Sondre Norheim and Karl Hovelsen emigrated to the United States.

Aerodynamics is a very important factor in getting the ski jump right. It’s all about lifting off and using the body to maximize speed.

However, the landing looks far more dangerous than it really is! The jumpers must have balance when taking off in order to land properly.

The jumpers must wear special handmade suits. These must fit their body like a glove otherwise they risk getting disqualified.

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If the suit is too big, it will allow the athlete to have more wind and more speed. This causes it to become a wind suit, which is not what the sport is about.

What kind of balance is required, you may ask? Well, have you seen how the jumpers sit crouched while they are on the in-run just before taking off? Doing this helps them achieve the extra push they need to make a smooth flight.

The players glide down a slope, crouched atop their skies, with their arms behind them. They get about a fraction of a second to lift off and fly!

When the athletes get the right momentum, they push their legs up and begin gliding. At this point, their bodies are parallel to their skis.

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The jumpers then begin to descend due to gravity. And, they have to make the landing ever so smoothly to help with their scores.

To see exactly what we mean, here’s a video of Winter Olympics 2018 gold medal winner, Andreas Wellinger:

How Ski Jumping Is Scored

The scoring in ski jumping is based on three pieces of criteria—style, distance, and speed. While the latter brings in the most points, style is a very important finishing touch to impress the judges.

The height of the jumpers after they take off is about three to five meters above the ground. They gradually descend to the ground, after which they continue to glide over the snow for a short while. (It must really feel like flying!)

However, distance appears to be a major factor for winning. The world record for the longest jump is held by Stefan Kraft from Austria. He jumped a total of 253.5 meters at a World Cup ski flying event!

Ski jumping relies heavily on aerodynamics and how steady the jumper can keep his or her body against the wind during their jump. The steadier the athlete is, the faster they’ll go.

While headwind provides the required lift, tailwind breaks the flight. As a result, tailwind is subtracted from the score in the calculations.

According to Olympics.org, the scoring system is as follows:

  • Points for jumping distance (meters converted to distance points)
  • Points for jumping performance (style points awarded by the jumping judges)
  • Points for in-run length difference (meters converted to gate compensation points)
  • Points for tangential wind speed and direction (meters per second converted to wind compensation points)

We hope that our lesson in Ski Jumping: 101 helps you to understand the sport a little better and be sure to watch the Winter Olympics 2018, which airs live on NBC!

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