Sport. Winter Olympic Games. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. 19th February 2002. Freestyle Skiing. Mens Aerials. Jumper with the mountains in the distance.

Winter Olympics: Crazy, Crazy Air

At the Olympics, there is speed, and there is teamwork. And then there is air. Here, a high-flying tribute to those who would fling themselves hundreds of feet skyward in their chase for a medal.

Let's settle the classic bar-room debate once and for all: Who falls harder, Freestyle Aerialist jumpers or Nordic jumpers? According to a 1999 NASA study, the "winner" is the Freestyle Aerialist, who experiences landing shocks equivalent to a vertical drop of 20 feet onto a flat surface. That's over twice the landing shock of a Nordic Jumper even though he (or she) flies at twice the velocity and falls twice as far. (Pictured: Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic competes in the men's aerials during the 2002  Winter Games in Salt Lake City.) Shaun Botterill Let's settle the classic bar-room debate once and for all: Who falls harder, Freestyle Aerialist jumpers or Nordic jumpers? According to a 1999 NASA study, the "winner" is the Freestyle Aerialist, who experiences landing shocks equivalent to a vertical drop of 20 feet onto a flat surface. That's over twice the landing shock of a Nordic Jumper even though he (or she) flies at twice the velocity and falls twice as far. (Pictured: Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic competes in the men's aerials during the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.) Record-Holder Giovanni Auletta/Agence Zoom Record-Holder Stefan Kraft of Austria (pictured) flew 832 feet in March of 2017 — please note that this is a distance of nearly three football fields — to claim the World Record on the ski-flying hill in Lahti, Finland. Crowd-Pleaser Clive Rose Crowd-Pleaser Christian "Hitsch" Haller, celebrated for his Half-pipe heroics, snatched a new world record for the highest snowboard air on a hip jump, reaching a full 36 feet over the top of the wall. In this photo, Haller takes on the Half-pipe during the finals of the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championship in 2015 in Austria. Tree Time Jamie Squire Tree Time Matthew Depeters of the U.S. goes topsy-turvy during the freestyle men's aerials qualifiers at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Way up there, like the red planet Ezra Shaw Way up there, like the red planet Nannan Xu of China competes in the Women's Freestyle Aerials Final at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games in Italy. Two flew together Brian Bahr Two flew together This was the X Games in Aspen, but you get the idea: high, fast, and far. Going Down Adam Pretty Going Down The top male aerialists perform triple back flips with up to four or five twists. Here, Anton Kushnir of Belarus practices at the Turin Games in 2006. Bright Lights Streeter Lecka Bright Lights The great Shaun White trains on the Half-pipe during the Vancouver games. Walk in the Park sampics Walk in the Park Freestyle aerialists can fly up to 60 feet in the air and land on a 37-degree grade. Red on Blue Bob Thomas/Popperfoto Red on Blue Mengtao Xu of China competes in the freestyle skiing women's aerials qualification at the 2010 games in Vancouver. When They Go Low JURE MAKOVEC When They Go Low Austria's Stefan Kraft during the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in March, 2017. Spin, Twist, Flip Bob Thomas/Popperfoto Spin, Twist, Flip Emily Cook, of the US, makes it look easy in Vancouver, 2010. Hi Ho Silver Wally Skalij Hi Ho Silver En route to a silver medal in the men's Half-pipe at the 2006 games, American Daniel Kass heads straight down. Big Reach sampics Big Reach New aerial skiers have to make a minimum of 200 successful jumps into water before they even get their first crack at the snow. But Nanna Xu, of China, shown here competing the games in Turin, is, um, no beginner. Night Sky Adam Pretty Night Sky Jeret Peterson, of the U.S., in the finals at Turin. Into the Great Wide Open Sam Mellish Into the Great Wide Open Billy Morgan, a member of the British freestyle development team, explores the atmosphere in December, 2017. Taking it for a Spin Bob Thomas/Popperfoto Taking it for a Spin Mengtao Xu of China at the qualifiers in Vancouver. Bright Lights sampics Bright Lights Competing at night adds another twist to the aerialist's routine. Ready to Flip JOE KLAMAR Ready to Flip Australia's Alisa Camplin in the aerials finals at the Turin. The Air Up There Donald Miralle The Air Up There China's Xinxin Guo at Turin. Eight Miles High Shaun Botterill Eight Miles High In the qualifiers for the 2020 games in Salt Lake City, Jeret Peterson of the U.S. goes upside down and sideways.