Ski flying: the gnarlier, even more dangerous, faceplant-ridden 1980s cousin to Sochi's jumps

Spectacular fails, even by YouTube standards

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The Independent Online

As the majestic ski jumping of the Sochi 2014 Olympics comes to a close, a reminder of how brutal the sport used to be comes in the form of a video of a 'ski flying' competition in the 80s.

Taking place on hills with a critical point of at least 185 metres, ski flying means higher speeds and bigger air, and though the technique is broadly the same, it essentially means flinging yourself off a mountain and praying you can stick the landing.

Spotted thanks to the Sochi games peaking interest in the event, a video from the 80s took off on YouTube this week, showing the brutality of the sport as limbs fly and flail through the air.

Many competitors look doomed from the moment of take-off in the clip, with the commentators lamenting:  'And like a rag doll, that long slide again…Jeff this is really starting... I'm feeling a little sick to my stomach here.

Germany's Ulf Findeisen takes a leap of faith (Picture: YouTube)

"I can't believe this, I've never seen ski flying like this, so many falls."

The irrationally brave ski fliers also horrified one viewer on YouTube, who questioned: "Dude what the f*ck, is it really worth being tossed down a mountain side? STOP DOING THIS YOU CRAZY SKIING BASTARDS!"

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the video however is the paramedic team on stand-by, who arrive after each crash and promptly flip over the fallen skier with an apparent lack of regard for any spinal injuries.