The science explains why these skiers can land on hard snow safely from a height equivalent to a building unharmed.
Ski Jumping (or downhill skiing) is a sport not for the faint-hearted. By just watching the athlete compete, many of you will be stunned.
The course of competition for this sport is dangerous: the athlete starts by sliding extremely fast down the long slope. After that, they slid up a gentle slope, then took the momentum of throwing themselves into the air and did not forget to make a series of kicks. In the end, they landed on both skis, continuing their short distance before stopping easily!
But you wonder why this athlete landed normally without any injury? Professor Greg Gbur from the University of North Carolina explained: “In fact, the athlete doesn’t jump up and down vertically. If you think about jumping, as well as throwing anything into space, they will all fall in parabolic orbit”.
It is important that when landing, athletes must control skis along the slope to move into parabolic paths. This is also not easy because the body is also affected by vertical gravity. Suppose if an athlete were to fall straight from the top, the hard snow would stop all movement immediately.
Such a sudden deceleration will cause an uneven effect on the body and break it into pieces. However, this will not happen as long as the skater slides slowly down the designated slope. This gradually decreases the speed, limiting the impact on the body of the athlete until they can stop.
Because of the high danger, Ski Jumping at the Olympics is for men only. After nearly 90 years, women have only competed since the 2014 Olympic Games. Currently, the highest record holder is Stefan Kraft – an Austrian male athlete. He has recorded achievements “fly” as far as 253.5 meters in 2017.