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Gateway to the Summer Games - Spotlight Sports Griffin Publishing Group

Ski Jumping
Legendary Norwegian nordic athlete Sondre Nordheim is credited with the first officially measured ski jump in 1860. The first ski jumping contest was held in Trysil, Norway, in 1862. Throughout the mid-1800s, ski jumping was part of ski carnivals in Norway, but the sport gained added prestige when, in 1892, the Norwegian royal family decided to donate the "King's Cup" trophy to the winner of the annual meet held in Holmenkollen.

Norwegian emigrants brought the sport to the United States and the first ski jumping meet in the U.S took place Feb. 8, 1887. It was won by Norwegian emigrant Mikkel Hemmestvedt.

On the normal and large hill, each competitor takes two official jumps, which are scored for distance and style. The scores for each jump are added together and the competitor with the highest total after the two rounds is declared the winner. The distance the jumper leaps is measured along the curve of the landing hill from the takeoff point to the point between the jumper's two feet as he first touches the hill. Style points for each jump are evaluated on a scale of 0 to 20 by five International Ski Federation-appointed judges

Interesting Facts
  • Four of the eight members of the 2002 U.S. Ski Jumping team hail from Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
  • From 1924 through 1960, there was only one special ski jumping event, the 90m, on the Olympic program.
  • At the 1988 Calgary Olympics, Matt Nykanen (Finland) produced the greatest performance in Olympic ski jumping history. Nykanen stormed the field to win the 70m and 90m events, then led Finland to the first-ever team gold and became the first ski jumper ever to collect three gold medals in one Olympics.
  • A jump lasts less than 30 seconds, but the flight is breathtaking. Ski jumpers launch themselves from hills 90 and 120 meters high.
  • At the 2002 Olympics, the Ski Jump competition is located at 7,350 feet in Utah Olympic Park which is the highest of any World Cup venue in the world. Competitors will have to not only negotiate sometimes-gusty winds whipping up the run, but also must remain aloft in the thin air.
To Learn More About Ski Jumping
  • Visit the Official Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Web site to get all the facts, latest scores and list of ski jumping events.
  • The Web site for the U.S. Ski Jumping Team has excellent information about the U.S. Team’s scores and competitions.
  • Ski Jumping Central promotes the sport of ski jumping across the country and provides a one-stop source for “frequent flyers”.
  • The International Ski Federation site includes the rules and history of the event from an international perspective.
  • Provided by Ski Jumping Central, this list of ski jumping links completes the information you will need to fly high during the Olympics.
Other Winter Olympic Sports

Alpine Skiing


Figure Skating

Ice Hockey


Ski Jumping

Speed Skating


General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this winter. Even though Gateway to the Winter Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and every one by visiting the sites listed below.

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