Japanese ski jumper Ryoyu Kobayashi sailed 291 meters after launching off a ski jump built near Iceland’s Hlidarfjall ski resort on Wednesday. Despite landing nearly 40 meters further than the previous world record, the International Ski Federation (FIS) will not recognize this jump as a new world record.

The reasoning behind the refusal mostly comes from the fact that Red Bull sponsored jump did not comply with the FIS’ International Ski Competition Rules (IRCs). According to those rules, ski flying competitions are required to follow an FIS-certified distance measuring system, they must take place on a FIS approved hill, and materials must be tested by an FIS certified equipment controller (length of the skis, mass of the suit).

Because Kobayashi’s jump did not take place under in line with those guidelines, and because it was not a part of a formal competition, the FIS will not recognize the jump as a world record.

They showcase an extraordinary athlete’s performance under very special conditions but cannot be compared to a FIS Ski Flying World Cup, as both the start date and the entire project are tailored to a single athlete and therefore ultimately to a single jump/flight.

I get where the FIS is coming from. I get why they don’t necessarily want people comparing this jump to formal competition jumps. But I don’t think that should mean that this jump doesn’t count as a world record. Guess what? He jumped that far. He landed it. Why does one organization get to decide that this doesn’t count?

Sure, maybe it doesn’t count as an official competition world record. We shouldn’t compare it too heavily to the previous world record, and we definitely shouldn’t throw that record away, but he still landed a 291 meter jump. That’s still an incredible achievement. Just because it’s a PR campaign for Red Bull, and just because it wasn’t under the control of the FIS, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t count.

The Red Bull record counts to us, Kobayashi. Huge congrats on this massive accomplishment! We look forward to seeing you in future competitions.

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