LAKE PLACID – The United States and Norway will not just ski jump together, but will seek to develop the sport as a whole in Lake Placid.
USA Nordic Sport and Norges Hopplandslaget, the ski jumping governing bodies of the United States and Norway, respectively, announced on August 24 that a partnership had been formed to advance the sport around the world. The partnership, which has been endorsed by the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, is designed to improve athlete coaching, training and performance in ski jumping.
“Under the agreement, the teams will train together and have several camps in the United States throughout the year in summer and winter, which will include the Norwegian and women’s teams,” said Tom Bickner, Chairman of the Board of USA Nordic Sport.
The US and Norwegian National Teams will share sports science and work together to establish and find global sponsors to support the Unified Teams as they train to compete for FIS Championships and Winter Olympics medals. The agreement spans four years and will be governed by a formal charter and oversight committee.
With renovations to the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid – which have made the ski jumps usable in both winter and summer – it is expected that more ski jumpers will train here.
“We see the improvements we’ve made in Lake Placid, and that makes it the best training facility in the country, so we want to use it,” Bickner said. “We have a very supportive staff in Lake Placid who want us there, who bend over backwards to make it easy for us to train there and support us and our athletes. We see this as an opportunity to train even more there with the collaboration agreement.
While USA Nordic Sport is based in Park City, Utah, Bickner said he wants to have a bigger organizational presence in Lake Placid. He added that the organization is actively looking for someone to help develop a coaching staff in Lake Placid.
“We want to designate Lake Placid as our official training facility. Those discussions are ongoing right now,” Bickner said.
Ski jumping was first introduced to Norway in the 19th century and made its Olympic debut at the 1924 Winter Olympics. Since the sport was included in the Olympic programme, Norway has won a total of 36 Olympic medals, while the United States has only one.
“(Norway) are kind of the ones who created the sport of ski jumping and they’re a great group to work with,” Bickner said. “They are so dedicated to the sport and the future of the sport. They want to be considered the most important country in the ski jumping community.
“By putting aside the medals and putting aside their successes and their podiums, they are focusing on greater relevance – especially the big nations – in the standings,” he added. he added. “Right now, podiums in World Cups and competitions are weighted towards six of the best nations or the strongest nations and have been for several years now. To secure the future of the sport.
The goal for the United States with this collaboration is to make the sport more relevant and exciting for younger audiences.
Bickner said the International Olympic Committee likes to see more participation from more nations in every sport. The IOC underscored this point, particularly in June when the organization said the long-term Olympic future of Nordic combined – a sport that combines ski jumping and cross-country skiing – was not guaranteed at the Games. 2030 Winter Olympics unless the organization sees a wider global audience and more countries sending athletes to compete in the sport.
Although the collaboration agreement only concerns the ski jumping team, according to Bickner, the agreement allows Nordic combined athletes to attend all ski jumping training camps that are in the United States. United.
“Norwegians view (collaboration) as helping the United States”, Bickner said. “To improve someone with such a huge population and such a large market, to help them start challenging for the podium helps the sport as a whole.”
Bickner said it was natural for Norway to choose the United States
“We’ve always had a match in our cultures in our philosophies and worked well together in the past but never anything officially,” Bickner said. “This collaboration makes it more of an official arrangement.”
Events in Lake Placid
While the collaboration should help grow ski jumping in the United States, major ski jumping events could also attract a wider audience.
Lake Placid, which hosted the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for ski jumping and Nordic combined in December 2021 and a Continental Cup in March, is expected to host more events.
“Actually, I’ll be in Lake Placid next week,” Bickner said. “For meetings regarding a World Cup, we are trying to schedule for February next year. We will continue these discussions.
Bickner said there hasn’t been a ski jumping World Cup in the United States for about three decades.
He said that while they are only considering a World Cup at the moment, the meeting will involve USA Nordic Sport, FIS and the state’s Olympic Regional Development Authority.
Bickner said they will discuss logistics, costs, budgets, rights and all of that to see if they can pull it off because World Cups are extremely expensive to run.
“I would say I’m very optimistic that we can get there,” Bickner said. “We have already gone through the process. Lake Placid is an excellent organization to host a World Cup. They have a lot of great people there who know what to do. So we’re comfortable where we can achieve that, it’s just a matter of making sure the numbers are good.
Although the World Cup isn’t guaranteed, Bickner said if they can bring one to Lake Placid, there would be a lot of positives that could come out of it.
“This is a huge opportunity for us to gain an audience to expose the rest of the United States to the sport and to train and build a fan base and a sponsor base,” Bickner said.