Ski jumping has been a key fixture of the Winter Olympics ever since it made its debut at the inaugural Winter Games at Chamonix 1924. The competition has given us some iconic Olympic moments over the years - from Eddie the Eagle (GBR) soaring through the air at Calgary '88 to Robert Johansson (NOR) and his 'flying moustache', the sport of ski jumping always seems to deliver something special at the Games.
There will be five events in ski jumping at Beijing 2022, including the new mixed team event, which will be making its Winter Olympic debut.
Top Olympic ski jumpers at Beijing 2022
Norway has been the dominant force in Olympic ski jumping for some time now, winning 35 medals - including five medals (two golds) at PyeongChang 2018.
They should bring another strong team to the competition in Beijing, headlined by Maren Lundby. The 26-year-old is one of the most successful contemporary ski jumpers in history, boasting a resume that includes three consecutive World Cup overall titles, thirty individual World Cup wins, and gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics and 2019 World Championships. After winning the large hill event and finishing second in the women's individual normal hill at the 2021 World Championships, Lundby remains the woman to beat in ski jumping.
Ema Klinec (SLO), who finished 14 in PyeongChang, won the normal hill at 2021 Worlds. Based on her performance at the competition (where she also won a silver in the women's team normal hill), don't be surprised to see the 22-year-old improve on that result - and by some margin - in Beijing.
The men's normal hill competition should be a tight affair, with several big names likely to challenge for the gold medal.
Four-time Olympic medalist and PyeongChang champion Andreas Wellinger (GER) is understandably one of the favourites for the normal hill competition, but it's worth noting that since the event was introduced to the Winter Olympic programme in 1964, no athlete has successfully defended his title (and only one competitor - Simon Ammann (SUI) - has won two golds in the competition).
Two men who could stop Wellinger from breaking that streak are Karl Geiger (GER) and Piotr Żyła (POL). Geiger picked up two gold medals, as well as a silver, at the 2021 World Championships, plus a gold at the 2020 Ski Flying World Championships. Żyła, despite being one of the older competitors in the field at 34, is the reigning world champion in the men's normal hill.
Stefan Kraft (AUT), who holds the ski flying world record of 253.5 metres (832 ft), won his second World Championship (and third total) in the large hill competition in 2021. Despite a disappointing performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics, where he finished 18th in the large hill, his CV at World Cup and World Championships merits his inclusion as an athlete to watch out for in Beijing. Robert Johansson, who bronze in the event in 2018, finished second at the Worlds, while Geiger rounded up the top three.
The mixed team event is a new addition to the Olympic programme (it was first contested at the Youth Winter Olympic Games), and, if the 2021 World Championships are any indication, it could be a close affair with Germany (who won the event), Norway and Austria all strong contenders for gold.
Olympic ski jumping schedule at Beijing 2022
The ski jumping competition will take place from 5 February - 14 February 2022.
Olympic ski jumping venue at Beijing 2022
The ski jumping competition will take place at the National Ski Jumping Centre in the Zhangjiakou cluster, where competitions in snowboarding, freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and biathlon will also take place. The ski jumping course (the first permanent course in the world) is 164 metres long, 60m tall at its peak and measures 34m at its widest part.
Following the Games, the venue (nicknamed "Snow Ruyi", thanks to its resemblance to a 'Ruyi' – a traditional Chinese ornament symbolizing good luck) will be used by China's national team for training, as well as a tourist resort.
Olympic ski jumping competition format at Beijing 2022
The ski jumping competition at Beijing 2022 features five events, including the new mixed team event.
Men's Normal Hill Individual
Men's Large Hill Individual
Women's Normal Hill Individual
In competition, jumps are evaluated by the distance travelled and the style of the jump. The distance is measured along the curve of the landing hill from the takeoff point to the spot where the jumper lands.
The men's individual normal hill and large hill competitions consist of two training sessions, a qualifier, and the final. In the men's team event (90m hill), there is a trial round and then two rounds of competition.
The women's normal hill has no qualifying round and instead proceeds straight to the final, which consists of one trial jump and two rounds of scored jumps.
The mixed team ski jump competition takes place on the normal hill with a woman-man-woman-man sequence, with the same scoring method as for the men’s competition.
Olympic ski jumping history
The origins of ski jumping can be traced to Norway where, in 1808, one Ole Rye jumped a modest 9.5m off of a small hill on a pair of skis.
But it wasn't until after World War I that people started to refine and invent new techniques in the sport. For example, Thulin Thams and Sigmund Ruud are credited with developing the Kongsberger Technique, which 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. Austrian Sepp Bradl used this technique with great success in 1936, becoming the first person to break the 100m mark with a 101m leap.
Swiss jumper Andreas Daescher became the first jumper to hold the arms backwards close to the body with a more extreme forward lean in the mid-1950s. Then in 1985, Swedish jumper Jan Bokloev refined this technique further by spreading the tips of his skis into a “V” shape, which proved so successful that it is now employed by most ski jumpers around the world.
Ski jumping has been a part of the Winter Olympic programme since the first Games in Chamonix in 1924, when the men's large hill was the sole event. A normal hill competition was added for the 1964 Innsbruck Games, with the men's team large hill joining the programme in 1988. The women's competition was only added in 2014, while the mixed team event is new for 2022.
Norway has been the preeminent force in ski jumping, winning 35 medals (including 11 golds). Finland is second in the medal rankings with 22 (thanks to their 10 golds), with Austria third with 25 (but only six golds). But for all of Norway's dominance in the sport, a Finn tops the all-time Olympic medal table. Matti Nykänen won four golds and one silver during his Winter Olympic career.