|Bryan showing the power of pink.
STORY No. 70
St Paul Ski Club
I have the above picture from the cover of the 1992 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Annual Report in my office at the University of Minnesota. BCBCMN was my headgear sponsor from 1990-92 and fortunately for me, gambled on my erratic takeoff with the hopes that I would make the 1992 Olympic Team, as their Minnesota Olympic Adopted Athlete. Anyway, that sponsorship truly helped me focus on ski jumping and I had very limited financial resources for training. I keep that picture in my office at work to remind me of what other people did for me. I think of people like Ed Brisson, who once secretly paid for me to go to Europe with the team, so I wouldn’t be at a disadvantage. All those trips to Europe, with no more than a hundred bucks in my pocket. Someone raised money to support my being there – amazing really! The other day, a student saw the picture and asked, “Hey, were you jumping for breast cancer awareness?” Hah! Well, even though I was using pink bindings, a pink USA jump suit, and a schweet (word from the time) pink stripe on my helmet with pink Uvex goggles, I had to say, “Actually, no, I never got to jump for breast cancer awareness.” “Oh, yeah?” the student said. “I never knew there actually was a time before that. And, look at the old ski gear!”
So, with the realization that I am now apparently very old and yet still feeling like a kid right out of the eighties—who seemingly wore pink the first time it was cool–I concluded that it’s likely no one can believe it was, in fact, ski jumping that jump started the whole Suzanne G. Komen movement. As the story goes, it’s been said that the now infamous pink event color was actually inspired from a cool bunch of U.S. ski jumpers at the 1990 HolmenKomen in Oslo, Norway.
On a more serious note, ski jumpers like challenges. And we at USA Ski Jumping are being challenged to move our sport forward on our own, USASJ. This is an incredibly exciting time for ski jumping in the United States. The USA Women’s Ski Jumping Team will, in all likelihood, bring the best women’s team to the Sochi Games, and development, support and organization for the men’s team is athletes both men and women, are well positioned to inspire future jumpers. Through help from MikeHolland, USASJ aims to capitalize on the special attention ski jumping will attract with the wonderful inclusion of Women’s Jumping in the Winter Olympics. Mike has developed a portable roller jump with a goal to get one to every ski jumping club in the country to more aggressively recruit young girls and boys to our sport. To date, nearly seven hundred Vermont elementary students have tried the roller jump in their physical education classes. Beyond junior development, USASJ has developed a collaborative partnership with Copper Peak, Inc. (soon to be announced) We are working on a winter meet again for Copper Peak in the coming years and bringing jumping back to Ironwood, Michigan, and hopefully soon, a Women’s world distance record too? Anything’s possible for a bunch of fearless ski jumpers that work together.
Additionally jumping at the Peak, will help secure Iron Mountain’s international competition date with jumpers coming to the U.S. for multiple meets and a unique jump experience in Ironwood with a 175HS. Ski jumping in America is run completely on fund-raised dollars. To be honest—and at the risk of being too blunt: if you ever jumped and have never given back in one way or another, please strongly consider a gift and a call to a board member to hear what we are working on. We’re just your old ski jumping buddies, volunteering our time to preserve the sport in America, and we’re doing really great stuff!