Sport: King of the Hill

Ski jumping is something like walking on water—the first step is the hardest. The view from the top is discouraging: the ice-slick starting slope falls away at an abrupt 35° for take-off speeds up to 60 m.p.h.. and the ambulance at the end of the landing run seems so far away that it might be a Tootsie Toy. Once a jumper starts, there is no turning back: a wobbly takeoff, a sudden updraft. a slight miscalculation can mean a bone-shattering spill —and many a star of this perilous sport admits to frequent tussles with...

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