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Ski jumping is renowned for having complicated rules, but we now see headlines for disqualifications because of suit violations. So, what is a suit violation? Why would it affect the competition?
The regulations for clothing in ski jumping are very strict, as it is easy to gain an unfair advantage with unregulated design. It is the responsibility of the competitor to ensure all his equipment and clothing are of the required competition standard, as each competitor is vetted before the start.
In ski jumping the competitor skis down the ramp or in-run, until they reach the end of the ramp and take off. They then fly as efficiently and stylishly as possible before landing on the slope as close to the ‘K line as they can.
The ‘K line’, which stands for critical in German, is where the steepest part of the hill ends, and the hill begins to flatten out. Competitors are awarded points for the distance of their flight, the adherence to the ‘K line’, and their style in flight and during landing.
Tip: Ski jumpers are airborne for an average of about 5 to 7 seconds, and it soon became apparent that controlling this section of the jump efficiently had a dramatic effect on overall performance.
Competitors need to maximize lift during their flight, but at the same time need to minimize drag. As competition between teams became more intense, the search to improve performance also gathered pace.
The Search For Performance
In the 1990s ski jumpers started to make radical changes to their stance during flight. For many years they had used a parallel ski configuration with both arms pointing forwards, as the ideal stance.
However, in search of extra lift competitors adopted a V-style configuration of their skis, with their arms flush with their bodies and hands to gain as much lift as possible.
The evolution of specialist man-made fibers also energized improvements in the materials for ski jumping suits. Nowadays, a spongy microfiber fabric, which is between 4 and 6 mm thick, is ideal for reducing drag, while having good permeability.
Regulation Of Equipment and Clothing
Tip: As competitors discovered new ways of gaining an advantage during competition, competition organizers needed to regulate these changes to ensure an even playing field.
The advantages of specialized ski jumping suits came under their scrutiny and there are now finely controlled regulations on their fit, dimensions, seams, zippers, and permeability.
Competition organizers state these regulations are required to stop some competitors from having an unfair advantage and at the same time to safely limit how far competitors can fly.
Prior to the competition, all competitors are required to undergo thorough vetting by the competition controller, to ensure all clothing and equipment passes the regulation standard.
It is naturally the responsibility of the competitor to ensure all the equipment and clothing is of the required standard. The regulations for clothing are very strict to ensure that all ski jumpers have the same advantage.
Even the style of underwear competitors wear is controlled, and competitors must change into this underwear in front of the competition controller to ensure the rules are adhered to.
The outer suit dimensions are then measured from different angles in an upright stance. Some of these measurements include anterior arm length, anterior crotch length, crotch, and inside the suit just above the hip bones among others.
The measurements of the suit need to correspond with the measurements of the competitor with an extra stretch allowance of 2 cm for men. Exceptions are for the anterior sleeve length and the anterior crotch length, where the maximum tolerance is 4 cm. Even the zipper and the seams on the suit are regulated by dimensions and location.
The fabric of the suit is also measured for permeability to airflow through it from both the inside and outside with a maximum figure of 12 L as permissible. Competition controllers admit one of the most frequent suit violations is caused by insufficient air permeability in the suit.
Possible Ski Suit Violations:
- The suit does not meet the regulations set by the International Ski Federation (FIS)
- The suit is designed to enhance performance, giving the skier an unfair advantage
- The suit has been modified in a way that is prohibited by the rules
- The suit has been damaged, making it non-compliant with the regulations
- The skier is not wearing the correct, approved suit during competition
- The suit is not properly registered with the FIS before the competition
Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 Controversy
Attempts at the Beijing Winter Olympics to adhere to the regulations for ski jumping appeared to end in confusion and acrimony for several competitors.
Key Takeaway: Some athletes complained that the vetting procedure wasn’t standardized and they were being measured in a different stance to the one dictated in regulations.
This led to a German competitor being given a violation for her suit, which was found to be too large. Overall, some of the best competitors in the German and Norwegian teams were given violation notices.
Any high-performance sport needs to have tight regulations, which help to maintain even competition among all competitors. For example, the regulations associated with F1 racing need to constantly evolve, as technology continues to improve. We are seeing the same evolution in competitive skiing, and it is vital that the vetting of competitors, prior to competition, is conducted as thoroughly as the documented requirements.
Q: What is a suit violation in ski jumping?
A: A suit violation in ski jumping occurs when a skier’s competition suit does not meet the regulations set by the International Ski Federation (FIS), is designed to enhance performance, has been modified in a prohibited way, has been damaged, is not being worn correctly, or has not been properly registered with the FIS.
Q: Why are suit violations a big deal in ski jumping?
A: Suit violations in ski jumping can give a skier an unfair advantage over their competitors – such as making them more aerodynamic allowing the jumper to travel further. This is why they are taken seriously by the FIS and can result in penalties or disqualification from competition.
Q: What are the consequences of a suit violation in ski jumping?
A: The consequences of a suit violation in ski jumping can include penalties, such as loss of points or disqualification from the competition, as well as loss of reputation and potential consequences for the skier’s team or national ski association.
Q: How can skiers avoid suit violations in ski jumping?
A: Skiers can avoid suit violations in ski jumping by ensuring that their competition suit meets the regulations set by the FIS, is properly registered with the FIS before the competition, and is not modified in any way that is prohibited by the rules. Skiers should also make sure to wear the correct, approved suit during competition and to avoid tampering with their suit in any way.
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