Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why the Ski Flying Worlds are my favorite championship in ski jumping

Few weeks ago I wrote about why the Four Hills Tournament is my favorite wintersports event. Though if we don't count it as a championship what the World Championships and the Olympic Games are, then this weekend is the time for my favorite championship in ski jumping, the Ski Flying World Championships.


In some ways, the Ski Flying Worlds are reminiscent of the Four Hills Tournament. While at the Olympics and Worlds in large and normal hill, there are only two jumps, at the Four Hills there are a total of eight jumps, rewarding consistency while still requiring to perform at highest level. At the Ski Flying Worlds there aren't eight jumps but it's still a two-day competition with four jumps. That puts more emphasis on consistency than in two-jump competitions, yet still not allowing bad jumps.

Of course, at the last two Ski Flying Worlds one of the competition days had to be cancelled. Yet the two-day format makes it easier to cancel competition round, knowing there will be, or has already been, another day of competition in fair conditions. There have been some cases of major championships having taken place in difficult and unfair conditions, like the 2009 Worlds' large hill competition that had to be finished after the first round. The two day format makes that less likely at the Ski Flying Worlds.

If I were in charge of those events, the large and normal hill events at the Olympics and Worlds would have a two-day, four-jump format similar to the Ski Flying Worlds. Though, I guess TV companies prefer the one-day format.

Another reason why I like the Ski Flying Worlds is that it's ski flying, the most spectacular form of ski jumping. It has some specialists like Robert Kranjec and Jurij Tepeš whose best chance for success is in flying hills, while the history has even overall World Cup champions who never won on a flying hill. Given how underrepresented ski flying is among the major events, that makes the Ski Flying Worlds even more special. As ski flying isn't included in the Olympics (for understandable reasons), I'd almost like the Ski Flying Worlds to be an annual event.

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