This study was concerned with identifying important flight characteristics of the ski jump at the end of the early flight phase and describing how these characteristics developed from the run-in through the takeoff and during the early flight phase. The K90 individual competition of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games was analyzed. The 2-D data (takeoff) were collected by a high-speed video camera, and the 3-D analysis (early flight) used an algorithm whereby two cameras followed the jumpers through the early flight phase. Center of mass (CM) velocities at takeoff and after early flight and CM heights at these positions had no significant linear correlations with total distance. Only small differences in these parameters were distinguished between better and poorer performers. Significant differences between jumpers were identified in angular parameters at takeoff and in early flight. A combination of five defined flight angles yielded an R2 value of .84. It was found that the complex movement sequences involved in ski jumping were therefore more important in their contributions to optimal flight position than the ballistic properties of the ski jumper reduced to a single point model.
Anton Arndt and Gert-Peter Brüggemann are with the Institut für Leichtathletik und Turnen, Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln, Carl Diem Weg 6, D-50933 Köln, Germany. Mikko Virmavirta and Paavo V. Komi are with the Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, 40351 Jyväskylä, Finland.