PARK CITY, Utah (Dec. 14, 2020) – USA Nordic opened the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup tour with strong results and a large global viewing audience from the traditional Utah opener. Athletes from seven nations traveled to the USA to kick off the 2020-21 season. USA Nordic’s Niklas Malacinski (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), just 17, and Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) both recorded strong results across the three day competition Dec. 11-13.
The event was produced by USA Nordic, together with support from the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, which manages the Olympic venues including Soldier Hollow and the Utah Olympic Park. It was run under a strict COVID-19 protocol for all teams and competition officials.
Partners including Backcountry, Palantir, Summit County (Utah) Restaurant Tax and Utah Office of Tourism supported a global live stream which attracted thousands of viewers in over a dozen countries.
Germany dominated the event overall, winning all three days. Defending tour champion Jakob Lange took Friday’s individual start competition, while his teammate Julian Schmid collected his first career victories in the mass start Saturday, which concluded Sunday, and in the individual start finale later on Sunday.
Malacinski, scoring points for only the second time at the Continental Cup level, finished third in the mass start event. He was also fifth and eighth in the individual events. Good narrowly missed the opening day podium, finishing fourth. He was fifth in the mass start. Malacinski is now third in the overall tour standings with Good fourth.
USA Nordic also earned an incremental World Cup spot for the team based on Malacinski’s top three finish in the first period of the Continental Cup.
The Continental Cup tour resumes in Klingenthal, Germany Jan. 15-17. The top-level World Cup tour for men resumes this weekend in Ramsau, Austria, along with the debut of the women’s World Cup, as well.
Germany Sweeps in Opening Event as USA Nordic’s Good Narrowly Misses Podium (Dec. 11, 2020)
USA Nordic had a strong day to open the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup Friday at Soldier Hollow. German nordic combined skier Jakub Lange won his fourth straight race at the Olympic venue in the traditional season-opener in Utah. Germany swept the first three places with USA Nordic’s Jasper Good and Niklas Malacinski (both Steamboat Springs, Colo.) scoring career best fourth and fifth respectively.
Malacinski, just 17, was starting in only his third Continental Cup. He led the provisional competition round for jumping, which was used due to a cancellation of Friday’s jump, so started first. Good, who was sixth in the jump, started 42 seconds back and moved up quickly in the first two laps. The two of them stayed in the primary pack the entire race.
“I was definitely in disbelief, especially during the start,” said Malacinski, a 2002 Youth Olympic Games athlete. “I just could never imagine being in the lead. It was nerve-racking having all those Germans and people from all around the world just chasing me.”
“Soooo close to the podium,” said Good. “Got to keep working.”
Lange, who won the 2019-20 FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup title, opened last season with a sweep of three wins in Utah. He started 58 seconds behind jump leader Malacinski, taking the lead on the second of five laps.
Two other USA Nordic athletes cracked the top 20 with Stephen Schumann (Park City, Utah) competing for the first time in two years, finishing17th and Grant Andrews (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) 19th.
USA Nordic’s Malacinski Hits Podium in Mass Start Event (Dec. 12-13, 2020
Germany continued its strong start to the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup tour with Julian Schmid taking his career first victory over teammate Jakub Lange in a mass start event that spanned two days due to weather. American Niklas Malacinski, just 17, was third for his first podium. Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) was fifth.
Lange, who had won four straight races on the Utah venues going back to last season, led after Saturday’s mass start 10k. But he was unable to overcome Schmid’s 96.0 meter jump. Malacinski also jumped 96.0 meters to take third.
Tricky wind and heavy snowfall forced cancelation of Saturday’s competition round late in the afternoon after seven jumpers. It was rescheduled for Sunday morning, which was cold and calm.
“It was a really great day today,” said Schmid. “I jumped very well and skied fast yesterday. So I’m happy about my first win. The athletes were happy that we could compete today with a no wind situation.”
The win brought confidence to Schmid that he can start on the World Cup this season.
“I definitely had the competition of my life,” said Malacinski. “I had one of my best jumps and a really good race, so it definitely paid off.”
While fans were not permitted at the event, Malacinski still had lots of supporters. “Yea, my entire family and friends are cheering me on with the live stream,” he said. Malacinski lives in Steamboat Springs but has family roots in Finland, with a delegation glued to their screens to watch him make history.
Stephen Schumann (Park City, Utah) was 11th and Grant Andrews (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) 12th.
After the conclusion of the mass start Sunday morning, the athletes had to come right back with the final individual Gundersen start event of the weekend starting just minutes later.
Double Victory for Germany’s Julian Schmid – Dec. 13, 2020
Germany’s Julian Schmid made it two victories in one day, winning the final event of the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup opener on the Olympic venue at Soldier Hollow. Schmid held off a strong charge to the finish from teammate Jakob Lange. Schmid had won the mass start earlier in the day. Germany’s David Mach came from behind to make it a German sweep.
It was a tightly-knotted pack most of the way, with only 6.5 seconds separating the top eight finishers. USA Nordic’s Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), who ended up eighth, took command of the race early and led through the second of five laps. He and teammate Niklas Malacinski (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), were in contention the entire way. Malacinski finished sixth in a photo finish.
“It was just a great day today and I’m really happy with the two wins,” said Schmid. “I tried to do a normal competition day and do my best as a whole and also on the track.”
Schmid was keenly aware of his teammate in the final 100 meters. “It was really close but I think it was a fair battle to the finish line.”
Grant Andrews (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) was 13th and Stephen Schumann (Park City, Utah) 15th.