Decker Dean competes during the trial round at the Four Hills Tournament Men Oberstdorf at Schattenbergschanze on Dec. 28, 2021 in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Athletes start atop a steep ramp then soar hundreds of feet through the air, usually with a scenic backdrop to boot. It’s no surprise that ski jumping is a perennial fan favorite at the Olympic Winter Games.

One of the original Winter Olympic sports, ski jumping has been part of the Winter Games since the first edition in 1924. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that the first women’s event was added. Norway, Finland and Austria have enjoyed the most success in Olympic ski jumping, with Norway claiming two gold medals in 2018 to take the all-time lead with 11.

Team USA has produced just one ski jumping medalist, with Anders Haugen having won a bronze medal at the first Winter Games in 1924 (though he didn’t receive that medal until 1974, when a judging error from the Games was corrected). At the 2018 Winter Games, a U.S. ski jumper finished among the top 20 in each of the three individual competitions.

This year’s Olympics features a normal hill event for men and women, as well as a large hill event for men and a team event for men. The competitions will be held at the National Ski Jumping Centre in the Zhangjiakou venue cluster 110 miles northwest of Beijing.

Updated on January 28, 2022. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

The U.S. men are coming off their best individual performance at an Olympics since 2002, when Alan Alborn finished 11th in the normal hill event. However, reaching the podium in Beijing will be difficult. No U.S. men were ranked in the overall world cup standings heading into the Games.

American women were instrumental in helping get their sport added to the Olympics in 2014, and all three qualifiers placed among the top 21 that year. While the U.S. didn’t initially secure an Olympic quota in the women’s event for 2022, Team USA was later awarded an additional quota spot paving the way for Olympic Trials winner Anna Hoffman to join the team in Beijing.

The Beijing Games will include the Olympic debut of a new mixed team event in which two men and two women make up each team. However, the U.S. did not secure enough Olympic berths to fill out a team for the mixed team competition.

Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, Illinois): The top U.S. man in both individual events in PyeongChang, Bickner secured his Olympic berth when he won the Olympic trials on Christmas Day in Lake Placid, New York. The 25-year-old, who is one of several top U.S. ski jumpers from the Chicagoland area, recorded the longest jump in the first round of the normal hill event in 2018 and ultimately finished 18th. He took 20th in the large hill. Bickner, who also holds the U.S. distance record at 244.5 meters, elected to skip the 2020-21 world cup season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Casey Larson (Barrington, Illinois): Four years ago in PyeongChang, Larson became the 100,000th male Olympian. Now 23 years old, Larson has already built a lengthy resume. He competed at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, made his senior world championships debut the following year, and then placed 39th in the normal hill event in PyeongChang. He came into the Olympic season after sweeping the national championships last summer in Utah. A fellow Chicagoland native, Larson, like Bickner, got his start at the Norge Ski Club. His younger sister Cara Larson also competes internationally for the U.S.

Meet the U.S. Olympic ski jumping team in these articles: Meet the Team, Anna Hoffmann qualification, Decker Dean qualification
Feb. 5 – Qualifying begins in various competitions
Feb. 5 – Women’s normal hill final
Feb. 6. – Men’s normal hill final
Feb. 7 – Mixed team final
Feb. 12 – Men’s large hill final
Feb. 14 – Men’s team final