Over the past hundred years, ski jumping has evolved enormously with different jumping techniques allowing jumpers to achieve ever greater distances.
Beginnings in Norway
The origin of ski jumping can be traced to Ole Rye who jumped 9.5m in 1808. Norwegian Sondre Norheim is widely considered the father of modern ski jumping. In 1866 he won what has been described as the world’s first ski jumping competition with prizes, held at Ofte, Høydalsmo, Norway.
After World War I, Thulin Thams and Sigmund Ruud developed a new jumping style known as the Kongsberger Technique. This involved jumping with the upper body bent at the hips, a wide forward lean, and with arms extended at the front with the skis parallel to each other. Using this technique Sepp Bradl of Austria became the first to jump more than 100 metres when he jumped 101 metres in 1936.
In the mid-1950s, Swiss jumper Andreas Daescher became the first jumper to hold the arms backwards close to the body with a more extreme forward lean. Then in 1985, Swedish jumper Jan Bokloev started spreading the tips of his skis into a “V” shape. Initially ridiculed, this technique proved so successful that by 1992 all Olympic medallists were using this style.
Ski jumping has been part of the Olympic Winter Games since the first Games in Chamonix Mont-Blanc in 1924. The normal hill competition was included on the Olympic programme for the 1964 Innsbruck Games. From 1988, the team event was added as a third competition.