As the Winter Olympics is about to kick off only in less than a couple of months, there has been a surge in the interest towards winter sports. In the wake of this interest, there started a new reality television show called The Jump. In this show celebrities take on the challenge of mastering the most adventurous and difficult winter sports such as snowskates, ski cross, skeleton, bobsleigh, giant slalom etc.
The show was conceptualised and created by the British television network, Channel 4. It ran for four seasons, with twenty-five episodes in each season. The contestants, who were celebrities from different walks, were mentored by Winter Olympic skier Graham Bell and the Olympic gold medal winner skeleton racer Amy Williams who trained the contestants and prepared them for the challenges. It requires fitness, alertness, quick learning and a keenness to learn. In every episode the contestants would compete through a series of winter sports challenges that have been elaborately planned out based on the training and expertise of the contestants. As the days progressed, the tasks would increase on the difficulty gradient. Every episode, the two contestants who scored the lowest would meet each other in a live ski jump face off wherein, the winner would stay and the other one would be eliminated. This would continue till there is a series winner at the end of the season.
It is fun for adrenaline junkies who live to challenge themselves and push boundaries. It has all the elements of thrill, the danger quotient, the excitement of the challenges and the fear of elimination along with the picturesque locations of Austria, all wrapped into 60 minutes of adrenaline packed episodes. Winter sports are always packed with a whole lot of risks as it is higher on the scale of danger. The risky format of the show had gained quite a bit of fan following among the adventure lovers around which probably accounts for the show running through four seasons between 2014 to 2017, despite the protests regarding the safety concerns. It is true that this show has contributed to a rapid rise in the popularity of winter sports among people, but it has also been criticised for turning serious sports into a dangerous reality show without ensuring adequate safety measures.
The show has already been at the receiving end of quite a bit of controversy owing to the number of injuries it has seen. The biggest problem with the format is that these sports are supposed to be played by experienced sportspeople who have reached a certain level of expertise and not by amateur celebrities on a TV show. Sports persons who perform these dangerous sports have gone through years of training and dedication to be able to do these without injuring themselves. Without the right knowledge, experience and training it can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal! Owing to their short and express training for the show and lack of experience and practice, a number of contestants such as Holby City actor Tessa Hobley, Made in Chelsea star Mark-Francis Vandelli, British gymnast, Beth Tweddle etc. have undergone quite serious injuries. Even the critical responses have not been very encouraging either.
Owing to the large number of injuries and safety concerns, the big boss of television decided that it was time for the show to take a break. Even though it hasn’t been cancelled yet, the show is temporarily off air. It is unsure whether it will come back with a new and safer format or will it be discontinued.