Monday, February 12, 2018

"As an unintended consequence, ski jumping — which permits only men to compete in the Olympics — became troubled by athletes with extremely low body weight and eating disorders"

From 2010:

Beginning in the 1990s, many jumpers risked health for aerodynamic advantage. One study found that 22 percent of the ski jumpers at the 2002 Salt Lake Games were below the minimum height-weight proportion, or body mass index, recommended by the World Health Organization.

There have been several highly publicized cases of anorexia and bulimia among jumpers and apparently even a self-referential song. Samppa Lajunen, who won the 2002 Olympic Nordic combined event, which involves ski jumping and cross-country skiing, belonged to a band whose hit, “The Lightest Man in Finland,” mentioned rumors of eating disorders, according to David Wallechinsky’s “The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics.”

...

To counter the problem, the International Ski Federation put in a rule in 2004 that tied maximum ski length to a jumper’s relative height and body weight.

...

After the Olympics, the rules will be adjusted again. The minimum body mass index will be raised to 19 (20.5 with equipment) and, for most jumpers, the maximum ski length will be shortened to 143 percent of a jumper’s height, said Walter Hofer, race director for the International Ski Federation. The relatively heavier athletes will be allowed slightly longer skis as encouragement not to lose weight to enhance their performance.