Phenomena

PyeongChang 2018: Ski Jumping

No winter sport is more aerodynamically demanding than ski jumping. A jump consists of four parts: the in-run, take-off, flight, and landing. The in-run is where an athlete gains her speed, and to keep drag from slowing her down, she descends in a streamlined tuck that minimizes frontal area. The biggest aerodynamic challenge comes during flight, when the jumper wants to maximize lift while minimizing drag. The athlete spreads her skis in a V-shape and flattens her body, using her hands to adjust her flight. Flying the farthest requires careful management of forces while in the air. Wind plays a major role as well, with headwinds helping athletes fly farther. To compensate, scoring includes a wind factor calculated based on conditions for each jump. (Image credit: B. Pieper, Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach, PyeongChang 2018)

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