Ski jumping is a pretty basic sport to understand once you see it in action. You ski down a hill, and you jump off of the hill. While you are in mid-air, you try to get as far as possible while keeping a single position (usually a V shape). Then the judges will judge you on how well you kept your form and for how far you jumped. In the 2022 Winter Olympics, Mixed Ski jumping was introduced for the first time. It was originally introduced 10 years ago in the Junior Olympics and slowly grew out to World Championships and now has made its way to the Winter Olympics.
In Mixed ski jumping, the rules are quite similar, but there are a few differences to take note of. Mixed ski jumping takes place on the normal hill instead of the larger hill. Also, instead of only being one person competing, there are four jumpers from the same country/team competing together against another team that consists of four jumpers as well. These four jumpers include two men and two women. The order that they must ski down in is a woman – man – woman – man order. Similarly to Track and Field, the order in which the coach places the jumper is mostly strategic, as long as the coach follows the guidelines for the specific order. There are also three rounds of ski jumping; the preliminary round, and two competition rounds. The preliminary round is to determine which team will enter into the semifinals and final rounds. Now that’s just the basics, but what will the introduction of mixed ski jumping do to the sport?
The viewership may be affected by the introduction of Mixed Ski Jumping. So far there has been a decrease in viewers watching ski jumping. Certain things that must be taken into account though when figuring out if the sport has decreased or increased in popularity depends on the amount of viewers of the entire Olympics itself. This year there was a record low of 11 million viewers and this was the lowest number of viewers since the Olympics began broadcasting on NBC in 1988. Although there was an all-time low, making the viewership from 2018 numbers higher than 2022, the percentages were different. When the percentage of viewers from 2018 is taken, there were a total of 25.9 million viewers and there were 5.7 million viewers that watched Ski Jumping. When the percentage of viewers from 2022 is taken, there were a total 11 million viewers and there were 3.3 million viewers watching Ski jumping. In 2018, 22% of the overall Olympic viewers watched Ski jumping, while in 2022 30% of viewers watched Ski Jumping. Based on these statistics, the introduction of Mixed Ski jumping may have increased the popularity of the sport.
Not only did the introduction of ski jumping possibly affect the viewership, but it also affected women’s rights in sports. Since 2014, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) has taken smaller steps to being more inclusive with women in the sport. In 2014 women were allowed to ski jump in the Olympics, and eight years later, mixed ski jumping was introduced, which introduced another women’s event. As of the 2022 Winter Olympics, there are two women’s events and four men’s events. Even though it wasn’t a women’s only event, it was a smaller step to bringing more women into the sport. There were 70 men and 30 women who participated in ski jumping in 2014, which was the introduction to women’s ski jumping. Then, eight years later in the 2022 Winter Olympics, there were 65 men and 40 women who competed. Although this was only 10 extra competitors, it certainly is an improvement for women’s rights in this sport. It wasn’t much of a change, but this action shows some inclusivity when it comes to women’s rights in sports. We, as a community, are not nearly close to demolishing gender inequality, but these steps are bringing us closer to that breaking point.