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Jumpin’ Jim-iny!

Jumpin Jimminy - 550

By Phil Hecken

As the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi begin to wind down, I’m sure we’re all a feeling a bit of Olympic-fatigue, but I’d say all-in-all, this was a pretty good set of games (and much better than all the doom-predictors and nay-sayers were expecting). Yeah, there were still a bunch of problems, (and controversies), but for the most part, it’s gone swimmingly…er, skatingly. Or something.

You know I’m a big fan of curling, which I basically only get to watch for two weeks every four years, and there are some other Winter Games’ sports I enjoy, but one that we almost never discuss on UW is ski jumping. While it’s not my favorite sport, I do enjoy it — hell, anyone who’s old enough to remember this classic ABC sports opening, probably could tell you the “Agony of Defeat” part was a ski jumper failing. Badly.

In 1988, I fell in love with a British dude known affectionately as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards — I watched most of those games with my fraternity brothers, who fell in love with him (and concurrently, ski jumping) as well. But I don’t follow the sport that closely, and never really got into it. But it is a great sport.

Fortunately, the one and only Jim “I’d Wear That” Vilk is into ski jumping — very. And he’s agreed to pen this nice story you’re about to read. So, without further ado, I’ll just turn the rest over to Jimmer, as he brings you…

. . .

Ski Jumping at the Olympics
By Jim Vilk

Since the first games in 1924, ski jumping has been featured at the Winter Olympics. I have enjoyed this event on television for more than forty years, and for the past twenty years I’ve videotaped as much of it as I can. Fortunately, someone else was taping it before that. The first three minutes of this video (presented by none other than Keith Jackson!) are a concise yet informative look at the changing styles of the sport up to 1984.

Mr. Jackson was spot-on when he said jumpers would come up with new techniques. Ten years later, everyone was using the V style of jumping. It’s still in use today, and its arrival has improved distances so much that they’ve had to make the hills longer. Things sure have come a long way from the arm-flailing, diving and helmet-less days of yesteryear.

The new technique, unfortunately, brought new concerns. Jumpers began to focus less on powerful takeoffs and more on losing weight. The sport’s governing body stepped in ten years ago to discourage extreme weight loss, tying ski length to body mass. In other words, weigh too little and you have to use shorter skis, which are less aerodynamic. There are other regulations, which cover all parts of the equipment and uniform…right down to the underwear. Baggy, air-resistant clothing is not allowed, even underneath the ski suit.

To the casual observer, though, it would appear little has changed since helmets were made mandatory in 1980 (that’s Canada’s Steve Collins, who briefly had success with an inverted-V style – it didn’t catch on, though). Four years later, the numbered bibs went from looking like actual bibs to something resembling a sleeveless shirt (that’s Germany’s Jens Weissflog, one of the few jumpers to have success with both the old parallel-ski style and the new V-style).

The bibs started to become more decorative after that, and the last five Olympics in particular have featured some very nice designs. Here they are in chronological order: 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 (my favorite) and 2014.

Of course, one of the biggest changes ever to this event was featured in that last photo. That’s Germany’s Carina Vogt, winner of the very first women’s competition. Congratulations to her, and to all the participants! And thanks for giving me even more ski jumping to watch in the future.

. . .

Thanks, Jim. I’m always sad when the Olympics pack it in and we have to wait another four (or two, if you’re counting both Summer and Winter games) years. But it was great to watch ski jumping again, and I thank you for the nice writeup!


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Paul’s Latest ESPN Column

In case you missed it, yesterday Paul had a new ESPN column on video game company EA Sports, which is inviting gamers to submit uniform and logo designs for inclusion in the “Madden NFL” game.

It’s a great piece, so make sure you give it a read!



U.W.F.F.L. Week 25

By Rob Holecko

. . .

Well after a one week delay due to weather-related issues, the excruciatingly long UWFFL schedule is finally coming to and end. Our final (official) game of the year (not counting a few more weeks of international play which will culminate in the World Bowl) is this week’s UWFFL BCS National Championship Game presented by Vicks NyQuil in Pasadena, California which will pit the #1 Florida Geckos from the Eastern Association, who finished the season 14-2 overall, against the #2 Anchorage Orcas, who went 17-2-1 out of the Pacific Coast Conference.

The winner of this game will receive the final promotion into the UWFFL’s top tier this fall.


Both teams have stayed remarkably true to their uniform concepts during their seasons – and why wouldn’t you when you’ve had the success they’ve had. The Geckos had added a patch to their uniforms with their team initials, “FG” which was an alternate patch for their franchise in the 1960s and 1970s, but which only gets worn in postseason and Championship Games nowadays, and both teams are wearing the National Championship game patch. free polls 

Good luck to both teams and we’ll see you in a few weeks for the World Bowl, plus who knows what UWFFL-related shenanigans may be in store for us during the off-season!


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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Another small amount of ticker submissions yesterday, so old school ticker today:

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Chris LaHaye saw a Harrisonburg High School in Harrisonburg, LA, player wearing a skirt Thursday night. “I’m guessing it was for religious reasons,” he says. “It looked like a modified pair of team shorts. It even had a swoosh.” … Check out these USA World Cup Jersey Official Photos. Says submitter Ryan Mackman, “I got a hookup from a friend who let me have one of the jerseys early. These are photos I took myself.” … Shockingly, the CEO of UnderArmour feels his company is being “unfairly beaten up over speedskating suits” (from Tommy Turner). … That Oklahoma football team who has requested design submissions from the public has received another (via Justin C. Cliburn). … MLS is having a “Jersey Week” again this year. It’ll take place in March and all but two teams are releasing new kits. The league did this last year for the first time and have expanded it to in 17/19 teams (from Danny Wittels). … Jim Harbaugh has tried Google Glass; will the rest of the 49ers be following suit? (thanks, Brinke). … MLS purchased Chivas USA and there will be new branding/logo after the 2014 season (from Tony Bruno). … USA Goalie Jonathan Quick has a mask with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a back plate. … Tom Mulgrew sends a photo of Russell Wilson in a Texas Rangers jersey, while holding another with his NOB, from “He said he’ll attend Spring Training, at least on March 3,” adds Tom. … NC State set up a display to honor Russell Wilson’s success in the NFL and the display has a copy of his Super Bowl jersey…and a copy of the scuba blue helmet Wilson never wore. Says submitter Kyle Hanks, “The Seahawks have worn their newer “college navy” helmet since Wilson has been in the league.” … Reader Hugh McBride Thought Paul (and perhaps a few other Uni Watchers) would appreciate the Cleveland Clinic’s stance on urine of a particularly-unacceptable-to-some color. … Despite the debacles, the US Speedskating team will be sticking with Under Armour (from Cynthia Faulkner). … The Madison Mallards (a member of a finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League) have been working with Madison Area Middle School students in hopes to find an artistic design for the 2014 alternate jersey. They received over 175 submissions from 14 different schools throughout the Madison area, and here’s the winning submission, created by Zachary Counts (from Tyler Isham). … Here are some cool overhead views of all 30 NBA arenas (thanks to Robert Silverman). … The mask that likely inspired Seahawks logo was likely discovered in Maine. … Northeastern Huskies have joined the Pinkuary brigade. … Looks like every adidas-sponsored school that plays baseball will get a tequila sunrise-esque jersey this season. … The CSU Rams will be wearing orange hoops unis today against Wyoming. … Wow, check out the stirrups Tennessee is sporting. Hey Comrade Marshall — if you’re ever back in the biz again, I know a set you can have TCK make for us. … The Tigers will have a bunch of giveaways this year, including the 1984 road jersey (which looked like this). Wonder if the team will wear that as a throwback (that’s very similar to the 1979 throwback they wore against the Rays in 2012). … “The Mets accidentally? tweeted a photoshopped photo of David Wright with a C on his jersey,” writes David Haberman. Here’s an article with quotes from manager Terry Collins on the possibility of that happening this season. … Rich Paloma notes the Sacramento Fox Affiliate is still using old NFL logo on sports reports. … Neat: An artist created a mosaic of the Cubs’ logo for the lobby of their new spring training complex (thanks to Dave Flapan). … In honor of Jack Ramsay’s 89th Birthday, Blazers coach Stotts adopts his style (Thanks, Kenny Ocker).


That’s it for today (might have been my shortest UW piece in years)! Don’t get used to it (I kid). Big thanks to Jumpin’ Jimmer Vilk for the short history of Ski Jumping at the Games. Good stuff. Everyone enjoy the last of the Olympics today, as we begin to slide towards March Madness and Opening Day.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Let me get this straight: There’s an aspect of something that’s totally fucked. But it’s been totally fucked for so long that its fuckedness has become an essential aspect of the thing. You’ve heard of too big to fail? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you too fucked to fail.”
–Paul, on figure skating doesn’t belong in the Olympics

Comments (43)

    I’m really tempted to enter that Madden thing, but I don’t actually use photoshop so I can’t conform to their .psd standard. Most of their suggested name choices aren’t very good either.

    You can probably convert from .png to .psd with a free online tool or something, but yeah you should just stick with us in the UWFFL… Or depending on the restrictions maybe you could get the Minnesota Mustangs into Madden.

    I think we ought to submit all of the UWFFL teams to the contest… but there is a restriction that your designs aren’t supposed to be based off of real teams, so a few of them probably wouldn’t qualify. They’ve also got a list of cities and team names, which most of our teams don’t match. They say they’ll consider every entry, but… yeah.

    I wonder if we could adapt some of our UWFFL teams/designs to the cities they’ve chosen.

    I don’t get why the Russell Wilson article is criticizing NC State for having a trophy case for Wilson’s NFL accomplishments. So what if he transferred to another school? He’s still an ex-NC State player in the NFL. It’s not like they’re celebrating that he won a Rose Bowl for Wisconsin.

    It looks like that website is just a bad Bleacher Report wannabe.

    I don’t know, it seems kinda silly really. Do other schools do that? Does a perennial powerhouse like Alabama or Ohio State have a bunch of displays for the NFL accomplishments of former players?

    …and they used the wrong helmet which makes it bad anyway.

    No shit. Russell Wilson starred for 3 years at NCSU… in football and baseball. He GRADUATED from there and played his final year at Wisky. If anything is weird, it would be Wisky claiming him as anything more than a 1-year transfer, which happens everywhere all the time now. i.e., nothing more than a rented “grad student.”

    And, yes, all schools have all kinds of displays for their NFL players. Purdue is the “Den of Defensive Ends” … Colvin, Phillips, Ayodele, Avril, Kerrigan, Okeafor, Neal, Nikovich, et al. They also promote their “Cradle of Quarterbacks” … Brees, Griese, Herrmann, Everett, Campbell, Phipps, Dawson, Orton, Danielson, Painter, et al. Of course they’re going to promote that! Alabama and O$U are on different levels, but surely they promote their Byers, Griffin, George, et al.

    This quality product sports transmission speeds of 300Mbps which contributes to its top performance and efficiency.
    1′ (without quotes and as is) in the address bar of the browser and click on the GO
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    Re the NW Coast mask that may have been an inspiration for the Seahawks logo–the article linked below was in the ticker a few weeks ago and is worth reading if you missed it, but lacked a color photo.


    I have a hard time accepting that the jersey shown is the game jersey and not, say, an official polo. Golf, anyone?

    This is what I think of…

    Sucks the USMNT and Nike can’t (and/or won’t) do better. I hope people don’t buy the garbage to force a better hand — and CONTINUITY!

    Seems odd to have the Madden story in the ticker since Paul’s ESPN article was an exclusive.

    Putting a “C” on Wright is not a good idea IMO. Everyone knows he’s the captain. It would have little to no positive effects and could have some negatives. Correct me if I’m wrong, but nobody else wears a C in baseball right now and only a handful have ever worn one. So I’m Miguel Cabrera playing the Mets and I see this guy wearing a C…I’m mildly amused this guy has to wear a C, so I have a little extra pep in the dog days of August and a little more fire in the dugout…or a pitcher is on the mound decides to throw a bit more inside to the “captain”.

    I don’t think MLB players have that attitude. I don’t remember Barry Larkin or Jason Varitek getting singled out in that way when they wore a C on their jerseys.

    You might be right, but why risk it? It may happen at the sub-conscious level. I play softball and I always note if someone is drawing attention to themselves.

    True but it was interesting to see that the Clippers and Lakers have different seating capacities at the Staples Center.

    I’m like ski jumping in America – I’m still around, but I only show up for very short increments of time.

    Excuse me, but isn’t there a judging aspect to ski jumping that affects the total score, therefore, by the standard given previously, ski jumping should be removed from the Olympics?

    There is a judging aspect involving style points for landing.

    And, like skating (although that sport does need to make some changes), it IS a sport.

    It’s bad enough the snowboarding and freestyle skiing are taking up airtime that used to go to ski jumping…you want to get rid of it altogether? At least wait ’til I’m dead and gone.

    “isn’t there a judging aspect to ski jumping that affects the total score, therefore, by the standard given previously, ski jumping should be removed from the Olympics?”


    That sentiment isn’t necessarily shared by all. And ski jumpers wear uniforms, at least.

    There will be more, however, on Ice Skating as a sport/non-sport tomorrow. Stay tuned…

    But will there be a 5&1?

    And if Ashley Wagner’s not in the Top Five, it’s not a legitimate list.

    That article about terry Collins putting a C on David’s jersey is from 2013. Over a year old.

    This is going to be his second season as captain, he’s not putting a. C of his jersey.

    What’s weird about ski jumping uniforms is that they’re “flappy.” Why don’t they wear skin-tight unis like tracksters and speed skaters? You’d think the flappiness in the air would create some negative drag and limit their distance (ever so slightly). Anyone know why they wear what they do?

    Similar with the downhill, snowboarding ski jumper whatevers. They wear the super baggy hip rapper-like snow skiing suits that are hanging off their butts. You’d think they’d appreciate a more custom fit that has less drag?

    My guess is that a flappier uniform would create a sort of flying squirrel effect. I think in general it’s more important to be floaty than speedy in ski jumping.

    The uniforms have to conform to the body’s shape when in an upright position. There’s a little flappiness when they’re leaning forward, but that actually helps a bit.

    The rule that the suits have to allow air to flow through keeps it from helping too much.

    I was a little disappointed that Vilk didn’t include footage of his Lego ski jumper. That’s one of my all time favorite ski jumps.

    Hey Martay!

    I believe there may be a sequel or a revisitation of that in the future. Stay tuned…

    My bad SteveH, I saw Feb 15 and assumed 2014 since it was the first Google result. Poor ‘journalism’ on my part.

    There’s only 29 arenas in the NBA, but like Mild Bill mentions elsewhere in this comment section, I wonder if the Clippers have always had a bigger seating capacity. You think demand would make it the other way around (not counting this and perhaps the last couple of seasons) but maybe it’s the Lakers trying to be “exclusive”.

    While I do love these ideas, I completely agree with jumping. Taking that many is jumping. I know that people pick up lots of them for jump, and thats their use, but some of these projects have obviously been done.

Comments are closed.