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Ski jumpers put on a show

Inaugural ski jumping event at Whistler Olympic Park a success despite snow



Of all the weather-related hardships Olympic organizers may have to deal with in 2010, it appears that snow is no barrier to hosting ski jumping events.

Whistler Olympic Park held a North American Nordic Combined Junior Championships and the Canadian Ski Jumping Championships last week, while the region was frosted with well over 130 cm of snow.

There were delays and some cancellations, but most events took place as planned. The Callaghan Valley Local Organizing Committee (CALOC) and a group of Squamish businesses under the banner of Squamish Life, provided volunteers to help out and a tent to give hundreds of spectators and officials a place to get warm.

In the Nordic Combined 10 Km Cross Country race, Taylor Fletcher and Nick Hendrickson of the U.S. took the top two spots, followed by Canada’s Wes Savill. Savill completed the 10 km cross country race in 29 minutes, 27.6 seconds, and earned a score of 147.0 on the jump.

The 5 km Nordic Combined race scheduled was bumped back a day, but did take place.

Taylor Fletcher of the U.S. once again took the gold, while Canada’s Wes Savill moved up to second place. Alex Madden of the U.S. was third.

The only other Canadians to make the top-10 were Sean Van Es in seventh place and Barrett Martineau in ninth place.

On the women’s side there was only a 5 km race, with the jump on Saturday and the race on Sunday. The top three spots went to Canadians, with Nata DeLeeuw in first, Atsuko Tanaka in second and Zoya Lynch in third.

The Canadian Ski Jumping Championships got underway on Friday, Jan. 4, as ski jumpers tackled the large K125 jump in Whistler Olympic Park. The event was moved up by two hours to take advantage of a break in the weather, much to the disappointment of media that showed up two hours late as a result.

It was a good day for Canada, with Stefan Read of Calgary making the longest jumps of the day in the first and second rounds. With style points, he finished with a score of 243.2, or 4.7 points ahead of teammate Greg Baxter. Baxter jumped 130 metres in the first run, and 125.5 in the second.

Third place also went to a Canadian, with Mackenzie Boyd Clowes jumping 130 metres and 120 metres to claim the bronze medal. The rest of the spots in the top-10 went to American jumpers, with the exception of Calgary’s Trevor Morrice in seventh place.