KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) The men were always going to be overshadowed by the women leading into the ski jumping competition at the Sochi Olympics. After all, male athletes had flown off the jumping hill for 80 years at the Winter Games before women were finally allowed to compete.
Once in Russia, though, more than one intriguing story line developed: Kamil Stoch won both the normal and individual hill for Poland, overcoming illness in the first event. Germany won twice - Carina Vogt, an historic first-ever gold in the women's normal hill; and another gold in the men's team event in a close, final-jump win over two-time defending gold medalists Austria.
Japan featured for both good and disappointing reasons.
A sport that dates to at least 1862, ski jumping has been a mainstay in the Olympics since the first Winter Games in 1924. Yet the appeal of it has hardly waned, as jumpers rocketing down huge ramps and launching themselves into the air on soaring downward journeys continues to thrill spectators. A spectacle that mixes grace, power and perhaps some voyeurism over the ever-present threat of a crash, ski jumping can still sometimes draw 70,000 fans to events in Europe's Nordic countries and the central continent. Learn about the events and the technique used to pull off these bold leaps of faith, and read about women's long battle to compete in Olympic ski jumping that has culminated in their Winter Games debut in Sochi.