Can we take a moment to acknowledge that ski jumping is one of the craziest sports out there?
Who in their right mind would want to fly over 800 feet in the air and land on skis without a metal edges? It’s just bizarre.
Vox put together a cool video (below) that explains the science behind why ski jumper use the ‘flying V’ technique.
It’s all about aerodynamics, baby.
Vox: “If you looked at photos of ski jumpers today and ski jumpers 50 years ago, you’d notice one big difference.
In the past, jumpers held their skis tightly underneath their body in a parallel position. Keeping the body in a straight line like this was considered elegant and appealing. But more importantly, it was the position jumpers used to gather as much distance as possible. This position made athletes thin and small, which allowed them to move forward through the air quickly. However, the parallel position didn’t do much to help them fight gravity.
In the 1980s, ski jumper Jan Boklov tested out a different ski position — one that resembled a V. He noticed that the V shape allowed him to achieve longer distances.
That’s because, unlike the parallel position, the V position allows air to hit athletes’ bodies directly. Instead of cutting through the air quickly, they’re using their body to catch air like a wing. This extra air lifts athletes up, allowing them to stay airborne longer — and go further. This small change revolutionized the sport, and since then, gold medal winners have used the V style to make it to the podium.”