Ski jumpers at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are sure to capture the attention of viewers around the globe with their flashy, high-flying antics in their pursuit of gold.
This is a must-watch event for any and all around the world. The sport itself is undergoing a historic change, as women will be allowed to compete in the event for the first time. Men will partake in the normal hill, large hill and team competitions, while women will participate in the normal hill competition.
As is the case with all events from Sochi, NBC will provide a live stream of all ski jumping events. Thanks to an interesting venue, history in the making and the overall excitement from a thrilling sport, potential spectators would be wise to work their schedules around the event.
Viewing Info and Schedule
Where: RusSki Gorki Jumping Center in Sochi, Russia
|Event||Date||Time (ET)||Time (U.K.)||Time (Sochi)|
|Men's Normal Hill Individual–Qualification||Feb. 8||11:30 a.m.||15:15||8:30|
|Men's Normal Hill Individual||Feb. 9||12:30 p.m.||16:30||9:30|
|Ladies' Normal Hill Individual||Feb. 11||12:30 p.m.||16:30||9:30|
|Men's Large Hill Individual–Qualification||Feb. 14||12:30 p.m.||16:30||9:30|
|Men's Large Hill Individual||Feb. 15||12:30 p.m.||16:30||9:30|
|Men's Team||Feb. 17||12:15 p.m.||16:15||9:15|
Note: All info courtesy of NBC Olympics unless noted otherwise.
The Venue and What to Expect
RusSki Gorki Jumping Center is of particular interest now that the Games have arrived. While students of the sport will surely know this, it is interesting that the Jumping Center was built specifically to mesh well with the surrounding environment, as Sochi2014.com details: "The facility’s location at the junction of two ridges was selected by international experts in order to make ski-jumping facilities harmonious with the surrounding landscape and to protect athletes from side winds."
In singles competition, each participant makes two jumps, must land with Telemark style and is graded on distance and style. Team competition consists of each team member jumping once in the qualifying round before a showdown of the final eight nations in a battle to emerge with the highest combined score.
Athletes to Watch
Sarah Hendrickson, United States
The traditional powers in ski jumping are Finland, Norway and Austria—countries that have historically blown away the competition in the event.
Sarah Hendrickson has a chance to turn the tide in a big way.
While she does not have as recognizable a name as teammate Lindsey Van, Hendrickson is the favorite to bring home gold. At just 19 years old, the Salt Lake City native has reached the World Cup podium 22 times and won the world championship in 2013.
Outside of success, Hendrickson is the supreme example of a comeback story. She tore her ACL, MCL and meniscus on Aug. 21 in Germany but is healthy and ready to use her comeback as motivation, via Nick Zaccardi of NBC OympicTalk:
When I crashed back in August, I laid at the bottom of the hill and thought everything was over. My dreams of being an Olympian were over. I decided to put my head down and work as hard as I could every single day until this day so that I could make my dreams come true.
Hendrickson is the top female to watch, but Japan's Sara Takanashi figures to provide stiff competition after dominating the World Cup scene in Hendrickson's absence.
Simon Ammann, Switzerland
Simon Ammann is an Olympic legend.
The 2014 Games are likely Ammann's curtain call, as he is 32 years old, so fans will want to tune in to see how his historic career will come to a close.
Ammann started his Olympic journey at the age of 16 and has the honor of being the only man in the sport to win four individual jumping golds, including two at the Winter Games in Vancouver with victories in the normal and large hill events.
After Ammann carries the Swiss flag at the opening ceremonies, he is a favorite to win yet again. The field is littered with talent, such as Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer, but Ammann deserves the spotlight.