One of our favorite things about the Winter Olympics is that it exposes us to sports we literally know nothing about and never see anywhere else. Like ski jumping. While we know ski jumpers are top athletes and that the jumps look freaking awesome, we don’t know all that much else about it. Specifically, how is ski jumping scored? What makes one jump better than the next?
The sport, which has its roots in Norway, has been included in the Olympics since the very first Winter Olympic games 1924. The concept is pretty simple (for spectators, at least) — ski jumpers go down a ramp to build up speed, jump, and attempt to land as far as they can down the hill. In a way, it’s kind of like long jump, but with skis.
Distance is one of the key components to how the score is figured out. But it’s not the only factor. Style counts, too.
According to Women’s Ski Jumping USA, the score is tallied by five judges. Each athlete gets a trial jump and two jumps that are scored. At major events like the Olympics, variable like wind compensation are also factored in since wind can change so quickly from jump to jump.
Style is judged out of a score of 20, and has a lot to do with form while in the air. Even though it may all look the same at first, if you pay attention, each ski jumper chooses specific moves to try and gain the most distance.
Now we know what to look out for when we tune in this year!