Ski Jumping Preview
Team USA's ski jumping squad in PyeongChang will feature a host of new names for events at the Alpensia Nordic Center. The towering jumping towers are located in a modern Nordic complex just a few meters from the cross-country stadium at the epicenter of the primary Olympic venues.

Sarah Hendrickson is the lone member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team - men or women - who is still competing. Hendrickson, the 2013 world champion, has gone through a series of surgeries since an August 2013 training crash. She remains one of the top contenders but has a host of challengers, most notably Nita Englund, who has posted the best U.S. results at international competitions since the Sochi Games. Also vying for a spot on the women's team will be Tara Geraghty-Moats, a biathlete who returned to her earlier sport of ski jumping.

The women will have a single event on the HS109 meter normal hill at Alpensia. At the test event last season, Englund posted a seventh- and eighth-place finish to lead the U.S. Abby Ringquist, who has been having a strong competition season this summer, was close behind.

The U.S. men's team will feature a completely new slate of jumpers, including a host of athletes coming out of the century-old Norge Ski Club in the Chicago suburb of Fox River Grove, Illinois. Leading the pack is Kevin Bickner, who set a U.S. distance record of 244.5 meters last season on the ski flying hill in Vikersund, Norway. Bickner had the strongest season for any U.S. man in a dozen years on the world cup tour in 2017. He will be challenged by Will Rhoads and Mike Glasder, along with junior Casey Larson, who scored a top-10 finish at the 2017 Junior World Championships in February.

The men will have two individual competitions - one each on the HS140 meter large hill plus the HS109 normal hill - along with a team event.

Team USA's ski jumping team will include up to four men and four women, dependent on national quotas achieved through international results. The top man and top woman will be selected based on results of the Olympic Trials for Ski Jumping to be held Dec. 30-31 at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. The remainder of the team will be nominated based on results in world cup competitions through Jan. 22.

Historically, Anders Haugen of the U.S. won a bronze medal in ski jumping at the 1924 Olympics in Chamonix. Jeff Hastings was fourth in the large hill event at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.Jessica Jerome was 10th to lead the U.S. women in their Olympic debut at Sochi.

Storylines

  • After a devastating knee injury in August 2013 leading up to the Sochi Olympics, Sarah Hendrickson has been on and off the jump with myriad surgeries. While she did compete in Sochi, she was not at full strength. Following the 2015 season, she took a full year off for surgery and recovery before returning to the world cup circuit in December 2016. If she remains healthy, she is expected to be a medal contender in PyeongChang.

  • Many of the top U.S. ski jumpers have one thing in common – few have been to an Olympic Games. Coming out of the junior ranks over the last few years, and combined with retirements in the sport, Team USA’s top ski jumpers are rising through the ranks internationally with breakthrough results at the Continental Cup and FIS Summer Grand Prix levels. Outside of Sarah Hendrickson, none of the present top U.S. men or women have competed on the Olympic stage.

  • Established in 1905 outside of Chicago, the Norge Ski Club has helped produce a host of top men's ski jumpers who are making their mark on the international level.

Athletes To Watch

Kevin Bickner
One of several athletes coming out of the Norge Ski Club, Bickner (Wauconda, Illinois) started ski jumping at age 9 and rapidly rose through ranks. He was a member of three junior world championships teams, earning an impressive 12th-place finish in 2016. He recorded a career-best top-25 world cup finish in December 2016 and also notched a pair of top-10 finishes in FIS Summer Grand Prix competitions. In March 2016, he soared 214.5 meters on the ski flying hill in Vikersund, Norway, marking one of the longest jumps ever recorded by an American.

Nita Englund
Englund (Florence, Wisconsin) grew up in the shadow of the towering big hill in Iron Mountain, Michigan, just a few miles from her hometown in Wisconsin. A three-time junior world championship team member, she moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to train after suffering an injury in 2012. She quickly rose through the ranks, making the 2015 U.S. World Championship Team. In 2015, she powered her way to the top of the FIS Summer Grand Prix, finishing third overall in the tour.

Tara Geraghty-Moats 
Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, Vermont) began jumping at age 9, progressing steadily at regional and national competitions before an injury caused a shift to competing in biathlon. After several successful years at the national level, she migrated back to ski jumping in 2014. In her first return to the Continental Cup, she scored a pair of top-12 finishes at Lahti, Finland, in February 2014. She is now competing full-time on the world cup tour and earned her first U.S. title in October 2016 in Lake Placid, New York.

Mike Glasder
Ski jumping veteran Mike Glasder (Cary, Illinois) has cracked the top 20 in Continental Cup competition eight times in the last two seasons, including a historic win at Iron Mountain, Michigan, in February 2016. Among his accolades is a top-20 finish on the Olympic hill at Alpensia in 2009.

Sarah Hendrickson
Growing up in the shadow of the Olympic jumps in Park City, Utah, Hendrickson burst onto the scene, winning a Continental Cup (then, the highest level in women’s ski jumping) at age 14. She went on to win the inaugural world cup season title in 2012 and won gold at the 2013 World Championships. A summer 2013 training crash took her out until the eve of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, where she finished 10th. She competed in 2015 but took the entire 2016 season off to rehab from surgery before returning to competition in December 2016 and posting with four top-15 world cup finishes.

Will Rhoads
Rhoads (Park City, Utah) is another product of the 2002 Olympic legacy in Salt Lake City. His family moved to Utah when his father took a job with the Olympics. He began ski jumping at age 6, having the opportunity to soar off the Olympic jumps through a local club program. He began his breakthrough in the fall of 2014, recording a pair of top-five results in FIS-level jumps overseas plus a U.S. Championships medal. In February 2015, he soared to second place at a Continental Cup in Japan, earning him a spot on the 2015 U.S. World Championship Team that competed in Sweden. He came back to earn season with a pair of top-10 Continental Cup finishes in 2016 and will be looking for continued success in the lead up to the PyeongChang Games.

Qualification

In order to be considered for selection, ski jumpers must have scored points (top 30) in either FIS World Cup or FIS Summer Grand Prix events at any time in their career, or score points in continental cup competitions during the 2017-18 season. The number of quota spots for the U.S. team will be determined by the International Ski Federation on Jan. 22, 2018, with a maximum of four men and four women based on points achieved by U.S. athletes on the world cup (primary) and continental cup (secondary) tours, beginning July 2016.

Click here to view the complete 2018 Olympic qualification procedures for ski jumping.

Selection

The male and female athlete who win the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Ski Jumping will be nominated to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.  Remaining slots will be filled by athletes, in part, based on results from FIS World Cups and Continental Cups between Nov. 15, 2017, and Jan. 22, 2018.

Click here to view the complete 2018 Olympic selection procedures from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association.


Editor’s Note: This selection process overview is designed to provide general information only and should not be relied upon by athletes attempting to make the U.S. Olympic Team. The selection process is formally governed by selection procedures published by each National Governing Body. Athletes and other individuals interested in the selection process should contact the appropriate NGB to obtain the full selection procedures, or to seek clarification of the process.

Key Dates

November 2017-January 2018

World Cup competitions

Various

Dec. 30-31, 2017

U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Park City, Utah

 Jan. 22, 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Announcement*  
*The 2018 U.S. Olympic Ski Jumping Team will be announced on or before Jan. 22, 2018.