The Olympic Winter Games… what an experience! Man did it start off with a whirlwind of things to do right from the get go. As we first landed in Seoul it was the first that our whole Olympic Team had been assembled, exciting for sure! We spent the night at a hotel the USOC seemed to have taken over, that was where we went through processing. This was everything from getting all of our Olympic clothing and making sure it fit and we knew how to wear it. You might laugh (I know I did) but for the Opening and Closing Ceremony outfits there was a specific way to put everything on, down to how I was supposed to tie the bandana around my neck and where to tuck in the sweater. It was rather comical a few days later when our team was getting dressed trying to remember these instructions. We also went through what I would call a logistical briefing from security, from how to be the best Team USA ambassador to how your family can get tickets, lots to take in! The next day we went on a short jog to shake the travel out and then hopped on a bus for the ride up to the Olympic Village in PyeongChang! After we got settled in it seemed like we pretty much hit the ground running. We had lots of new parts to our day (for me at least) with things such as press conferences and extended travel due to much higher level of security than I am used to. After a few days I was able to get a hang of our scene and settle back into a normal routine with what felt like everything figured out! Below are some pictures of our first few days and the travel on the way there!
We had several days of training both on the jump hill and cross country trails before each competition which was great. It was also around then that it started sinking in that I was at the Olympic Winter Games (OWG). Two moments stick out to me the most. The first as you might guess was walking into Opening Ceremonies behind the US flag, man was that cool. Watching the ceremony unfold sitting next to some of my best friends and hundreds of other world class athletes it starts to sink in, then they light the torch and everyone starts yelling for it has officially begun. My second moment was on a training ski, sunny nice day with the team and as we round the corner in the stadium to head out on another lap I look up and can see the ski jumps looming over the complex with the rings conveniently in the foreground and then my teammates skiing in front of me with simple training bibs marked by big Olympic Rings. [One small info note: at the Olympics Nordic Combined has an individual 10km race off the Normal Hill (90m), an individual 10km off the Large Hill (125m) and a 4 man Team event off the Large Hill in which each athlete skis a 5km race.] Next thing I knew, the first competition on the Normal Hill had snuck up and it was time to compete, man was I pumped. Although I didn’t have my best personal performance in the competition I took away what I could, the biggest thing being the fact that I had just achieved a childhood dream of competing in the Olympics! Below are some photos from Opening Ceremonies and the first competition!
With a well-placed day off after the competition I was able to enjoy something I hardly get to do, watch other winter sports live! A few of us went to watch the US Women’s Hockey Team on their quest for Gold which was super fun! I also finally got to go to one of my favorite sports to watch while I am on the road in Europe, Biathlon!! I actually spent that evening with my parents and then went to that event with them, it was super fun as we ended up next to a comically loud group of Norwegian fans! It was amazing to spend some time with my parents and see some other events before diving back into it. Over the next little bit we got to jump the Large Hill in training and have more days on the cross country course, both of which were super fun! I really liked the course in PyeongChang as it was both challenging for my endurance and technical skills all at the same time. On the jump I was able to make some improvements during the training which makes for having more fun ski jumping! On the day of the Large Hill competition I actually had one of my best memories from the games, funny enough in the training round. I had a better jump and was stoked on having fun flying and as I came out of the outrun I looked over and saw my family and the rest of the USA cheering squad going wild, so awesome to see that many familiar faces cheering us on!! The competition itself was a bit better for me but still not a performance I would hang my hat on. Again I was able to take away so many things and experiences to learn from, which I now have up my sleeve when the games roll around in another four years. Below are some more pictures from time off and the second competition!
Overall the OWG were an amazing experience with such a killer crew. We stayed in the same condo as our Ski Jumping team, with whom we rarely get to spend much time. It was an absolute blast hanging with them, watching events after ours were over and exploring a very foreign country. Closing ceremonies was another incredible experience as well, I had not known that all of the countries walk together. It was so cool to walk into the stadium with other countries, new friends and my good friends all as one. One last walk wearing the stars and stripes in front of the world was such an honor. I will be able to take away so many things from my time in Korea and I am incredibly grateful for that.
I am now in Lahti, Finland to kick off the final month of World Cup competitions. It will be another action packed month and I am pumped for what’s to come, stay tuned!
January has blown by, although at times it felt like it was moving along at a snail’s pace. As you know this past month I was in the midst of my first Olympic Selection Period, let’s just say I wish I knew at the beginning what I know now. I have been on the World Cup circuit the past few weekends since my last update, learning a lot about myself. Since my last update I traveled and competed at several different World Cup venues. I had results at those that made me want to harness my inner Rod Kimble (from the movie Hot Rod) and go kick punch my anger away in the woods. I had somehow allowed myself to start to slip away from where I thrive, both technically and mentally. I have had to force myself to learn from these weeks and do everything in my power to take a step forward. Although it didn’t happen as quickly or when I wanted it to I have started back down the right path.
The Olympic Selection Period ended on the 22nd and I found myself in a bit of limbo for a few days waiting to hear the official nominations for the Olympic Team. As I am sure many of you know, the feeling of not knowing and not being able to do anything about something can easily mess with you. I was very fortunate to spend those few days in Seefeld, Austria which is one of the more incredible places that this sport has taken me. Seefeld had been hit by a massive snow storm right before we arrived, blanketing the town in an immense amount of snow, quickly reminding me of the beauty of winter. I was there with Ben (Berend) who has spent a bit more time in the area and took me on one of the more incredible distance skis I have been on in a while. Needless to say, we were able to find a distraction from all the extra noise that had been sneaking into our lives. When the news finally arrived and I was informed that I was officially going to the Olympics I was beyond stoked!! I had achieved my childhood dream and would be getting to represent my hometown and country competing in the Olympic Winter Games!! I was named to the team along with Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Ben Loomis, and Ben Berend, I could not be more stoked to have this opportunity with my best friends and teammates (photos below).
I am now at my home away from home in Planica, Slovenia for a Pre-Olympic camp which will included jumping on some of my favorite hills along with a weekend of competitions perfect for a tune-up before departure. I will then be departing for the Olympic Games in just over a week!! The best way to follow along with what I am up to is my Social Media outlets or homepage which updates with photos from those outlets, stay tuned!! Here are some photos from my travels below!
Since my last update I have competed in two different weekends of competition on different continents! The first was US Olympic Team Trials in Park City, UT. This event was a winner take all, meaning whoever won the event is guaranteed a spot on the 2018 Olympic Team. The remainder of the team will be named based off of International ranking lists on Jan 22. I did not have my best competition, however it was an incredible experience to have the opportunity to be competing for a spot on a US Olympic Team on home soil. An incredible amount of spectators came out to cheer my teammates and I on. Bryan Fletcher continued his upward trend of results and took the win meaning he is locked in for his second Olympic Games!! Below are some photos from the event!
After Olympic Trials it was quickly time to pack up my life as I would be flying to Europe in a little over 24hrs for the rest of the season (a 3 month trip). My first stop was Klingenthal, GER for a weekend of Continental Cup competitions. This is one of the biggest hills we get to compete on which makes for a fun jumping portion. We had three days of competition, the first day a 1 jump 5km, second day a 1 jump 10km, and the final day a 1 jump 10km. I had my best competition on day number 1, jumping to 16th place. Due to a cancelled World Cup in Estonia there were more competitors here than normal, 73 athletes in total. I was able to ski a smart race and move up to 14th place on day 1 for my best finish of the weekend. On day 2 I had a mental lapse resulting in a bad jump, setting me to far back to be in contention for the race. My coach and I decided to rest up for day 3 and sit out of the race, a hard pill to swallow but I knew it was the right thing to do. On the final day of competition the wind started to act up causing the jumping to be cancelled, meaning we would be racing of a Provisional Round of jumping that was held earlier in the week. I had jumped to 29th place in that so I would still be starting in an ok position for the race. I had a decent race, not my best of days but enough to hold my own and finish in 27th place. As I am learning more and more, with every competition weekend it is important to take away both the positives and negatives and learn how to improve upon them, this weekend was a great example of that. Below are some photos of the competition weekend, and results are here.
After the competition in Germany I traveled to Predazzo, Italy where Ben Loomis and I were joined by the Fletcher brothers. We are here for a weekend of World Cup competitions, two individual events and a team event! It will be an exciting weekend in a beautiful valley. If you want to check results or a time schedule click here, you will also be able to watch these events live on the NBC Olympic Channel website here. Stay tuned to my homepage or Social Media for more daily updates!
It has been an exciting and fast paced month since my last post! I was in Steamboat for the majority of the time, this year I got to spend more time at home then the past few years. It was great for me both mentally and physically! I was in Steamboat for a little over a week before I got to compete in my first international competition on home turf, and man was it fun! It was a full Continental Cup (COC) weekend with three days of competition, a 10km race each day! The weekend started off on a strong note, on day one I was able to set myself into a good mindset for the jumping and perform in the competition round. I jumped to 12th place, my start position for the race under a minute back from the leader. I had a strong race and was able to pace it well, I skied up to the lead pack which was new for me. At one point during the race it was Norway in place 1-3 and then my teammate Ben Loomis and I in 4th and 5th position. It was an incredible moment and motivating to be fighting in the lead group with my friend and teammate! Unfortunately I broke a pole with about 3km left in the race, because of that I lost time and was unable to claw my way back to the front. I still had a strong finish crossing the line in 10th overall! I was bummed about my pole but I was able to move past it as that is how sports work (sh** happens). The following day I was pumped to get another chance to fight, again I had a solid performance jumping to 13th place in a very similar start time as the day before (under a minute from the leader). I had another solid race, I wasn't able to bridge the gap to the lead pack, however I skied a smart race and finished in 8th place, a career best finish for me on the COC!
On the third and final day I did not have a very good jump, my timing was off and it didn't go as planned. I would be starting the race in 24th just over a minute back from the leaders. I had a plan for the race and was able to execute on that, skiing a good race and almost catching up the the lead pack. I was really feeling the last two days of competition at the end of the race and pushing through the wall of pain at the end. Unfortunately a freak accident happened and my ski came off with about 300m left in the race. I had a moment of panic before I got my ski back on thinking I was going to lose to many places. However, I was able to still hold on for a 12th place finish, I was bummed with that turn of events but again thats how sports work. Overall I had a great time competing on home soil in front of a home crowd, the amount of support my team and I had during the competitions was incredible, motivating me to perform my best! I was able to take a lot away from this weekend of competitions both positives and negatives as always. My entire team and I had a great weekend, Ben Loomis having a strong weekend with three 5th place finishes, and multiple top 20 finishes and even more top 30s for the whole team! If you would like to see results from the competitions follow this link. USA Nordic also put together a great live stream of the event, which you can rewatch by following this link and then clicking on the respective days. Below are some more photos of the competitions!
After the competition weekend in Steamboat I got to spend an awesome week recovering and enjoying being home with friends and family! After our time off for the Holiday I traveled back to Park City where I am currently located. This weekend we have US Olympic Trials, the winner of this event will punch a ticket to the Olympic Games, the rest of the team will be decided based upon international ranking on January 22nd. There is a possibility that you can watch a highlight of our event this Sunday at 1pm EST during other Olympic Trials TV on NBC Sports. After this weekend I will be traveling to Germany for the first weekend of COC competitions fo the new year! Stay tuned for how this weekend goes and what comes next!
The new season is now upon us and I am very psyched that things are finally rolling. Park City had enough snow for us to ski for one day before the weather got warm and the snow melted. We then decided to spend a short Thanksgiving week in West Yellowstone, MT. West Yellowstone is known to have lots of early season skiing which helped me make the decision to head up there for a few days. I have never been to West Yellowstone for skiing before, so it was great to get on snow and ski some new trails. Below are some photos from Park City and West.
After West Yellowstone I drove back to Park City for a short 24 hours to unpack and repack all of my stuff. It was a quick turn around time but I was psyched to do it as I was on my way to Lillehammer, NOR for my first competition weekend of the year. As I mentioned in my last blog I was heading to Lillehammer to meet Ben Berend and the Fletcher's for a World Cup weekend. Lillehammer is one of my favorite places on the tour and it is always a winter wonderland. I was able to get my first jump training session early in the week in Lillehammer before they closed the hill for competition prep. Even though I only got a handful of jumps in Lillehammer I had a blast ski jumping on snow again, every time I get back to it I am reminded why I love it so much. The cross-country skiing in Lillehammer is unbelievable as well, we were able to go on a some great skis before the weekend! The competition started off with a four man team event on Saturday, I was psyched to compete with my fellow Steamboat teammates as I had never been part of a four man team event on the World Cup level. We had an ok performance on the jump hill, none of us having spectacular jumps but we would be right around a few teams. We skied well as a team moving from 10th to finish 9th overall, not a performance we were happy with but positives and things to learn from. The next day was the individual competition which did not go as planned, in order to compete you must place in the top 50 in a qualification round of jumping, I ended up 51st meaning I wouldn't be competing. The other boys had similar days and none of us qualified to compete that day. I was definitely bummed that I didn't get the chance to test myself agains the World Cup but I was able to reflect on my jumping with the help of my coaches and learn from my mistakes. Below are some photos from my week in Lillehammer.
After Lillehammer I was on my way back to the US, landing in Park City first. I was there for about two days getting things organized before I made my way to Steamboat where I currently am. I will now be in Steamboat training in preparation for the Continental Cup Competitions the weekend of Dec 15-17 here in town. I am so excited for this event as I have never had the opportunity to compete in an international event on home soil. If you would like to check results before I send them out you can follow this link and then click on 'Steamboat Springs.' As always you can check out my home page or Social Media for daily updates! Here is a schedule for Steamboat if you are in town:
Friday Dec 15:
11:00am Provisional Jump Howelsen Hill
12:00noon Competition Jump HH
6:00pm 10km XC Race HH - Start/Finish at Rodeo Grounds
Saturday Dec 16:
9:30am Training Jump HH
10:30am Competition Jump HH
2:30pm 10km XC Race HH - Start/Finish at Rodeo Grounds
Sunday Dec 17:
9:30am Training Jump HH
10:30am Competition Jump HH
2:30pm 10km XC Race HH - Start/Finish at Rodeo Grounds