Nick Fairall wins men’s jumping trials
Park City was good to Nick Fairall in 2013.
After winning a national title at the Utah Olympic Park in August, the 24-year-old ski jumper clinched a spot on the 2014 Sochi Olympic team by winning the Olympic qualifying event on Sunday afternoon.
Fairall secured his first-ever Olympic berth via a two-jump score of 253.5, edging teammate Anders Johnson, who finished with a two-jump score of 249.0.
In front of a horde of cheering fans, Fairall said he was thrilled with his performance and all the support for the sport.
"This is crazy," he said amidst the roar of the crowd as the women were finishing their second jumps. "They’re loud we could hear them at the top. It’s awesome this is an amazing crowd."
From his humble beginnings on a ski jump in Andover, N.H., Fairall has dreamed of the Olympics since the age of six.
"It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid," he said. "But most importantly, I’m really proud to represent the U.S. Like, I’m very proud that’s not a generic comment. I think this is such a great opportunity that not a lot of people get to do, so I’m very thankful for that."
Johnson, a 2010 Olympian, said he couldn’t be happier for his teammate.
"He’s been jumping really well for the last year and a half now," he said. "He’ been working really hard and he really deserves this win today. He’s definitely been the best guy on our team since this summer and he’s led the way."
Johnson added that it’s back to the grind on Wednesday, when he’ll begin working on securing a spot at his third Olympics.
"It would have been nice to get that spot and not have to worry about it," he said. "For me, I go back to Europe on Wednesday and it’s back to the normal grind."
But, based on Sunday’s performance, he’s confident that he’s on the path to Sochi.
"Unfortunately, I didn’t get the free ticket today," he said. "I’ll have to work for it a little bit more, but my jumping is definitely getting a lot better."
For Fairall, the next month becomes a chance to push himself to move into contention for a podium spot in Russia.
"It’s excellent I can focus on my jumping now," he said. "I can get back into training instead of having to fight for a spot at the end."
Overall, though, both Johnson and Fairall will miss the great facilities and atmosphere Park City provided this weekend.
"The hill’s in great shape the hill crew did an awesome job and the organizing committee did an awesome job," Fairall said. "It’s a great hill it’s a challenging one because it’s at high altitude but it’s one we train on a lot. I’m very pleased with the way I jumped."
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The soccer tournaments run from July 29 through July 31.