Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


More Athletic Ski Jumping! A Lightweight Formula Solves Complex Problem

Dangerous underweight among top athletes can now be detected even more accurately using the new Mass Index. Unlike the Body Mass Index used in the past, this innovative method also takes into account individual leg length.

The new index was developed as part of a project by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, which had already provided the basis for resolving the problem of underweight in ski jumping. The project was based on wide-ranging field studies during the Olympic Games.

Less is more, at least when it comes to body weight and jumping distance in ski jumping, as the lighter you are, the further you fly. But when is “less” actually “too little”? When does low weight distort competition and become chronic underweight and how can these harmful developments in sport be countered?

These were precisely the issues investigated by a team led by Prof. Wolfram Müller of the Center of Human Performance Research at the University of Graz as part of the project “Problems with underweight among competitive athletes”. One of the results is a much improved facility for assessing underweight and overweight. The new measure for determining relative body weight is called the Mass Index (MI) and in the future it will augment or even replace the Body Mass Index (BMI), which does not take into account the proportions of the body and, in particular, individual leg length.


With his new method, Prof. Müller offers more precise calculation of relative body weight, as he explains: "So far - based on the BMI calculation - people with long legs are assessed as too thin and, conversely, people with extremely short legs are quickly branded as overweight. However, both of these assessments are incorrect as the calculation method is based simply on a person’s size. In contrast, the Mass Index calculated by us takes into account the ratio between the legs and the upper part of the body.”

The results obtained in this project have already led to a reduction in problems with underweight for ski jumpers. Studies of athletes’ physical build in connection with aerodynamic measurements and calculations persuaded the International Skiing Association to change the ski jumping regulations from the 2004/05 season onwards. Extremely light athletes are now obliged to jump with shorter skis. Since this new competition rule was implemented, practically no more underweight jumpers have got themselves into this condition through starvation. This means it is the athletes’ skill that will count in future and not the advantages of being underweight.


The varied project results were only made possible by comprehensive studies supported by the Olympic Committee and the International Skiing Association. Prof. Karl Sudi, who developed the project with Prof. Müller, says: “We had a great opportunity during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City to conduct a field study on athletes’ individual flight styles and at the same time to examine the proportions and composition of ski jumpers’ bodies. The involvement of nearly all the ski jumpers who started at the games meant it was possible to create the basis for changing the rules in ski jumping.”

It is particularly pleasing that athletes too ultimately benefited from this FWF project. Following measurements in wind tunnels, completely new forms of training were developed which make a key contribution to optimizing the performance of ski jumpers and athletes in the Nordic combined discipline. Eight athletes who took part in these forms of training won gold at the Olympic Games in Turin.

Till C. Jelitto | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>