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  • Writer's pictureMichael Plugge

Fooling the system: jumpers trained themselves to be shorter

Many jumpers shrunk several centimeters last season, tricking the measuring rules and gaining an advantage on the hill. Among them was Maren Lundby, who now confirms that she trained herself to be shorter. FIS has now changed the measuring systems for the upcoming season.

Maren Lundby in the air during the first ever ski flying competition in Vikersund (Photo: NTB)
Maren Lundby in the air during the first ever ski flying competition in Vikersund (Photo: NTB)

Last season, several jumpers appeared to have shrunk in height. It turned out that they found a way to manipulate the measuring systems in such a way that it gained them an advantage on the hill. To NRK, Maren Lundby tells that the Norwegian national team used to be very well prepared for the official measurements, using the systems to their advantage.

"It was all about arching our backs and making ourselves as short as possible"

"It was necessary to curl up. Last year we were lying on the floor, so it was all about arching our backs and making ourselves as short as possible, without it looking weird. If you practice a lot, it is possible to achieve it," Maren told NRK


When a jumper is shorter, they can weigh less before going below a BMI of 21. Get below that and you are, by the rules, forced to jump with shorter skis. Height also determines the size of the suit, in which the difference between the total body height and the height from the waist down is decisive. This basically means that you want to have shorter legs and a longer torso, so you get the best possible suit.


FIS caught on and changed the rules. Until this season, all measurements were done by hand, giving jumpers the opportunity to exploit the possibility to arch their backs. Now FIS will be using a 3D scanner, making it impossible, for now, to manipulate your body.

"Our fear was that they would become too thin"

To NRK, FIS equipment controller Christian Kathol explains that FIS saw what was happening and the implications a shorter height could have. "It can be a bit dangerous, considering the BMI. Because if they are shorter, they can weigh less. We saw that it was going in the wrong direction, so we had to act to get it on the right track. Our fear was that they would become too thin if we continued."


Norway's biggest ski jumping stars, Maren Lundby and Halvor Egner Granerud, confirm that FIS is right and that they knew about the exploit. "It's clear that we are aware of that," told Granerud. Maren believes that the height trick was essential and said that is was something the team practiced.

"It's about being well prepared, and doing what the others do"

When asked by NRK if Maren sees it as unethical or as cheating, she denies that. She explains that FIS sets the rules and that it's the team's job to find out what works best and emphasizes that it's not illegal. Norway, as well as every other country, did this and used the rules to their advantage. If Norway wouldn't have done it too, they wouldn't have anything to show for on the hill compared to the others. "It's about being well prepared, and doing what the others do," she says.

NRK's ski jumping expert Johan Remen Evensen (Photo: NTB)
NRK's ski jumping expert Johan Remen Evensen (Photo: NTB)

NRK's ​​ski jumping expert Johan Remen Evensen agrees with Lundby and sees no ethical problem with using the rules in such a way that it's beneficial to yourself. "I see it as a set of regulations that you have to try to use to your advantage, something that has been done for years in all top sports. I don't see it as ethically questionable," Evensen explains.


Evensen then says that in his days, the team was well aware of the measurement rules. At the time is was all about being as tall as possible, it allowed you to jump on longer skis. "I was measured at 180 on one of these measurements, even though I was actually 178," says the former ski flying record holder.

"It will work out for the vast majority of people"

Both Maren, as well as coach Meyer, are happy with the new measuring rules. Especially the fact that the suit doesn't count on the scale anymore is a positive. Maren says that the jumpers will have to gain about 1.5 kilo's. This will make the sport healthier.


Coach Meyer hopes it will go in the direction they want it. "It will work out for the vast majority of people. This is the main message, which we think is good."

(Source: NRK)

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