Utah Olympic Park to host U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships July 30-August 1

From USSkiTeam.com:

America’s Olympic and World Championship medalist athletes are ready to put on a show on the Olympic venues in Park City. The Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow will combine as the site of the U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships July 30-August 1. It’s the third year the traditionally wintertime event has held its annual championships in the summertime.

The U.S. Ski Team’s four Olympic medalists including Olympic champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), World Champions Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Olympic silver medalist Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) will highlight the field, competing in both the ski jumping and nordic combined championships.

The summer Championships have been held the last two years in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, NY. Now the scene shifts to the 2002 Olympic venues for a late July weekend extravaganza. The move also puts two jumps back onto the schedule with both K90 and K120 plastic jumps available, which allows athletes to ski jump sans snow on a plastic surface, at the Utah Olympic Park.

“The summer events have been a great showcase for our sport and these amazing athletes,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Nordic Director John Farra. “The athletes love competing here and it’s a major test for them to go head-to-head on the Olympic venues.”

Competition kicks off Friday morning with the U.S. Ski Jumping Championship for men and women on the K90 Olympic jump. The trial jump begins at 9:00 a.m., followed by two competition rounds. Nick Alexander (Lebanon, NH) and Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) are the defending U.S. champions, winning in Lake Placid a year ago.

Among the favorites in the jump will be two-time Olympian Anders Johnson (Park City, UT), who grew up skiing at the Utah Olympic Park.

“I grew up jumping these hills so I know them very well,” said Johnson. “It’s the best summer and winter facility we have in the U.S. and the only K120 with plastic. I’m excited for the Championships and I am feeling healthy again for the first time in a while, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.”

Sunday the K120 big hill will be on tap for jumping, along with the official U.S. Nordic Combined Championship. Jumping will begin at 9:00 a.m. with ski jumping titles on the line for men and women. The nordic combined finale will shift down to the paved roller ski trails of Soldier Hollow near Midway with a 6:00 p.m. start for the 10km title round. Lodwick is the defending U.S. champion.

While the veteran Lodwick has his sights set on another U.S. title, he’s also anxious to see the progress of the young future stars of nordic combined.

“It’s a program with new blood, new drive and awesome direction,” said Lodwick. “I would love to put another national title under my belt. But to see where the talent is today is great – who’s going to take up the oars and keep rowing down the river.”

The Olympic silver medalist is also anxious to get back to World Championships this winter and defend his two 2009 gold medals. “I think I still have the ability to ski well and I’m looking forward to going to the World Championships in Oslo.”

World Champion Lindsey Van (Park City, UT), ready to soar again after a year off, will showcase the ski jumping field, along with America’s Olympic ski jumpers. Van grew up on the Park City jump, so is quite at home here. But she also admits that while it’s home, a part of her passion for the sport is mixing it up and competing around the world. A big target for her will be the World Championships in Oslo this winter.

“Having the Worlds in Oslo will be so cool,” said Van. “That is where the sport began, and it is so popular there. Norway is also one of my favorite places to jump. I am excited to compete again, and the time off has really helped with my motivation.”

Click here to read the entire article.

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