Jumping is integral to many Summer Olympic sports. There are no Winter Olympic sporting events that require an athlete to jump since all the sports are performed on either skis or skates, or on sliding equipment such as a bobsled. Ski jumping is technically a jumping event, but the athlete is propelled into the air by momentum and not by his own physical actions. Other events, such as freestyle skiing and snowboarding, also involve jumping but, as with ski jumping, the athletes rely on momentum and gravity to become elevated.
Divers use the spring board to help propel them into the air to reach a height that allows them to perform a variety of maneuvers. A diver jumps on the spring board several times to create momentum. Once enough momentum is created, the diver jumps up high and slightly forward to perform his dive, then lands in the water.
Hurdles are a track and field event that requires runners to jump over hurdles along the track. The hurdles are spaced apart evenly to allow the runner to create a steady rhythm and cadence. There are three hurdle race distances: the women 100 m, men 110 m and men and women 400 m.
The steeplechase is a race around a track with four oversize hurdles. One hurdle features a water pit behind it. Runners must jump over the hurdles and are allowed to step on the hurdle to help propel themselves over.
The high jump requires athletes to run and jump over a raised bar. High jumping techniques can vary but typically involve a sideways approach, which allows the athlete to jump backward over the bar. The athlete arches his back to clear the bar and lands on a large mat to break his fall.
Long jumpers sprint along a narrow track toward a line, which the athlete cannot step over. Good long jumpers can time their runs with precision and step as close to the back edge of the line without going over as they jump and propel themselves forward into a sandbox.
Much like the long jump, the triple jump begins along a narrow track. The athlete must sprint toward three designated zones -- that are marked by lines -- before jumping for distance. The jumper must touch down with one foot in each zone before launching for distance into the sandbox. The jumping sequence is commonly referred to as the hop, step and jump phase.
Gymnasts must use jumping techniques in various events. Gymnastics is divided into three categories: artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline. All three categories feature events that require jumping. The women balance beam, men and women floor exercises, and men and women vault events all require some form of jumping. Rhythmic gymnastics consist of floor exercise events performed with various hand-held objects. The routines consistently involve jumping maneuvers. Finally, trampoline events consist primarily of jumping, which is aided through the momentum created by the trampoline.
Basketball players commonly jump to get closer to the basket when attempting to score. Defenders also commonly jump to obstruct a shooter's view or to block a shot.
Volleyball players often jump when approaching the net. Whether an athlete is trying to spike a ball over the net or block an incoming shot, jumping helps the athlete create a more advantageous angle.