By: Clint Jones, Sport Director
As we pass the halfway-mark of our summer training and competition season, it is important to stop for a minute and take inventory of what we have accomplished to this point. In many ways, this summer has been a breakthrough for our USA Nordic Ski Jumpers, with some fantastic results from the National Team athletes, and some confidence building performances from some of our up-and-comers. And while we are all very pleased with what our talented young group has done so far, we need to keep in mind where we are headed and how these strong summer performances can inspire our ski jumping community to keep pushing!
So far this summer, Kevin Bickner has twice been in the top-10 of the Summer Grand Prix, and Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes (our Canadian amigo) has two top-15 finishes. Although these individual results are something to be proud of, the real excitement for me is the fact that our younger ski jumping athletes can see that it is possible for North Americans to compete with the World’s best. It shows that the efforts of USA Nordic and of the broader ski jumping community are starting to payoff. We still have a lot of work to do, but there is nothing more motivating for a young athlete than to see one of their domestic heroes start to see some success. This has been happening on the Nordic Combined side with the successes of athletes like Billy Demong, Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick, and Bryan and Taylor Fletcher. All of our USA Nordic National Team members have a great opportunity right now to show the world what they are capable of, and give our next generation of aspiring young athlete a clear path to follow.
The next challenge is to keep the ball rolling in the right direction, and build off of the positive foundation that has been laid so far this summer. There are still some chances for our National Team athletes to make an impact at the Grand Prix and Continental Cup levels this summer, but the real focus is to go into the winter season healthy and ready to compete. With the World Championships in Lahti, and the Junior World Championships at home here in Park City, our athletes have some great opportunities to make their mark this year, and set a new standard for the future of our Nordic Sport community.