All 4 USA mens ski jumpers qualify to advance in the Olympics

BEIJING — Park City ski jumpers Kevin Bickner and Casey Larson, along with their two teammates Decker Dean and Patrick Gasienica qualified for the next round of competition in the 2022 Olympic men’s Normal Hill qualification round today. 

The gusting wind forced multiple athletes to be pulled off the start bar several times, for safety. Local spectators, all wearing masks, were in attendance.

They skied one trial round, then one qualification round earning spots in the top 50 for tomorrow’s second round.

Larson, 24, works at the Utah Olympic Park and is in his second Olympics. He had an inrun speed of 83.6 km/hr, jumped a distance of 79 meters, got 69.8 points placing 41st. 

Bickner, 25, originally from Illinois, in his second Olympics, had an inrun speed of 83.4 km/hr and jumped a distance of 78 meters getting 66.6 points placing 43rd.

Ski jumping results are a mix of objective distance and subjective judging. The wind is the wild card which a points system compensates for inconsistencies. A concerted effort towards a level playing field has an international jury directing athletes to start from higher or from lower. Compensation points are factored in, as well, for gate position. Starting higher means more speed is generated in the inrun thus a farther jump. A lower start means less speed thus a shorter flight distance. A quiet body in the air and a telemark, staggered feet, landing is rewarded by judges. It’s harder to exact a telemark landing, though, if they’ve jumped too far onto the flats.

The USA Nordic annual National Ski Jumping Day was January 22 on which 17 clubs made 978 jumps totaling 20, 810 meters.

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