During the 2018 Ski Flying World Championships, I wondered if in 1936, when Josef “Sepp” Bradl uttered the words, “That was no longer ski jumping. That was ski flying“, if he ever imagined how popular the sport would become. With larger hills being built for ski flying, particularly in the 1950’s and an International Ski Flying Week that began in 1953, fans were ready for their favorite jumpers to “fly”.
The International Ski Flying Week was the premier event until the first world championships were held in Oberstdorf in 1972. From the beginning, it was always an event with an individual winner. In 2004, the International Ski Federation (FIS) introduced a team competition. This is a competition between national teams that have four members each. Each jumper has two jumps as they cycle through a jumper from one country, then another, then another, etc.
2018 Team Competition
While the crowd cheers wildly during the Individual Competition, it gets ratcheted up many levels during the Team Competition. Country vs. country is quite the thing to watch, whether it’s in ski flying or in football (soccer).
History had already been made this weekend with a Norwegian, Daniel Andre Tande, winning the Individual Competition. Would the Norwegians, with a very strong team, sweep the tournament?
As you can see in the picture below, the Norwegians come with drums, cowbells and even trumpets. They were ready.
The Germans were hoping they would win. Flags were everywhere. That was because they were handing out flags for anyone who wanted one as we entered the arena. I told them I was “neutral”. And the Germans wave their flags wildly as their jumper comes down the hill.
And then there are the fans from Poland. I think I was in their cheering section today. This is my fifth ski jumping/ski flying competition that I’ve attended and they cheer for the jumpers from their country like nobody else does. They not only have their flags as seen in the Featured Image of this post, but they also have their horns. It is deafening!!
Yes it is just a lot of noise on that video clip, but one has to get an idea of what it’s like to be in one of these outdoor arenas with the flags waving, horns blaring and everyone like me trying not to get poked in the eye!!!
I must mention, that each country cheers for the other jumpers too, just not as passionately! Everyone comes to see a great jump that reaches the K-Point or further. On this hill that is 200 m (656 ft) or beyond.
And The Winner Is?
Norway!!! They dominated the competition. Also on the podium for the award ceremony were Slovenia and Poland. Daniel Andre Tande from Norway, who won the Individual Competition, was the last to go and all he had to do was have a successful jump. And of course he did.
The other day during the Individual Competition, he set a new hill record of 238.5 m (782 ft). The world record is 253.5 m (832 ft) that was set last year in Vikersund, Norway when I was there. Many of you are in parts of the world where ski jumping/flying is not shown on television. I want to share with you Tande’s jump when he set the hill record. It is a great one! Note that his speed leaving the jump is 102.1 km/h (63 mph). That is moving!!!!
Some people like to watch golf and balls in flight. Some people like to watch dart tournaments and darts in flight. But for me, I’ll take watching a ski jumper in flight any day. This was the first of five tournaments that I’m going to this winter. The next four tournaments are in March in Norway with 11 straight days of competition in four different cities. Can’t wait!!! And there will be plenty of history to feature for each of the cities (Oslo, Lillehammer, Trondheim and Vikersund).
On To Berlin
With the 2018 Ski Flying World Championships in the history book, I now head to Berlin. I’m taking the scenic route by train rather than flying from Munich to Berlin. I love leisurely train rides. I’ve been to Berlin three times. It is a city that is full of history and one that a person could go back to explore many, many different times. Hope you’ll join me for the next few days with more History Thru Travel!!!