Institute of Sports Science


German magazine features new study on professional ski jumping

Judges in ski jumping assign significantly higher scores to their compatriots. This nationalistic bias was revealed in a joint study by Alexander Krumer (Molde University College), Felix Otto and Tim Pawlowski (both University of Tübingen). The study is now discussed in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Ski jumping competitions involve subjective evaluation of judges from different countries. This may lead to nationalistic bias, according to which judges assign higher scores to their compatriots. It may also create strategic voting, according to which judges would expect reciprocation from the other members of the judging panel for assigning high (or low) scores to their compatriots. Using data from all the World Cups, Nordic World Ski Championships, and Olympic Games for the seasons from 2010/11 to 2016/17, this paper finds that judges assign significantly higher scores to their compatriots. However, we find no evidence of strategic voting. Thus, truncation of extreme scores that is used in ski jumping competitions mitigates the nationalistic bias and makes the competition fairer.