The 2015 FIS Ski Flying World Championships will be held from the 15th to the 17th of January, 2016 in Tauplitz/Bad Mitterndorf, Austria for the fifth time. The defending world champion is Severin Freund.
The sport of ski flying is derived from ski jumping, but much greater distances can be achieved in the former. Athletes individually descend down a built takeoff ramp at high speeds and then jump from the end of it with as much power as they can physically generate and proceed to glide—’fly’—as far as they can down the steeply sloped hill and hope for a stable landing. Athletes are judged using a point system based on distance and style by five judges.
One of the worst injuries in the sport’s history happened in 1999 when Slovenian Valery Kobelev crashed and landed head-first onto the hill at 65 mph, sliding unconscious down the slope. Kobelev was in a medically-induced coma for several months and was only able to return to the sport seven years later in 2006.
The career of former Swiss ski jumper Walter Steiner was documented in the 1974 film, The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner by filmmaker Werner Herzog. Streiner competed in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan and won a ski jumping silver medal in the individual large hill.
For team competitions, a national team is made up of four athletes that are selected by the team’s head coach. Countries are allowed to field up to eight teams, as long as they are able to field a full team of four. Similar to individual competitions, there are two rounds, but with each round divided into four rotations in which each athlete of every team jumps once.
Team competitions are a staple at ski flying events, which are contested as part of the Ski Flying World Cup, but the points earned count towards a separate Nations Cup for teams. An athlete’s individual World Cup rankings are therefore unaffected by team competitions
. In Canada, the sport of ski jumping— the sister sport to ski flying and one of the original winter Olympic sports—is in desperate need of monetary support to keep the national team alive. The Canadian organization needs public support and donations to be able to field a team at the South Korean Winter Olympic Games in 2018. Ski jumping receives zero financial aid from Own the Podium (Canada’s Olympic legacy funding mechanism) or any other public sources.
Peter Prevc of Slovenia ‘flew’ an unbelievable 244 metres to clinch the individual ski flying world championship title with a ski hill record in a shortened competition on Jan. 16, 2016.
This January, Austrian ski flyer Lukas Mueller underwent surgery on his lower spine a few hours after a severe crash during test ski flying on the world championship hill. An equipment problem caused Mueller to fall while landing a 120-metre jump in heavy snowfall.
The origins of ski flying can be traced to 1936 in Planica, Slovenia when 18-year-old Austrian Josef "Sepp" Bradl became the first man in history to land a ski jump of over 100 metres. His world record jump of 101.5 m (333 ft) took place at a new hill designed and completed in 1934 by engineers Stanko Bloudek,Ivan Rožman, and Joso Gorec and named "Bloudek’s giant.” Upon witnessing Bradl’s jumps in the triple digits, Bloudek enthusiastically stated: "That was no longer ski jumping. That was ski flying!"