Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Olympic Park, Utah The American ski jumpers came to Utah Olympic Park with high expectations Wednesday in the K-120 special jumping event, but the expressions on their faces after the second round told a story of frustration.
"There was a little bit of tailwind, which is the same as the training runs, but with that and everybody jumping a little better that's where I finished up," American Alan Alborn said.
Alborn and teammate Clint Jones were expected to carry the American team on their shoulders through the Olympic Games but finished 34th with a jump of 115.5 meters.
Immediately following his jump, Alborn was in the top 20, but as the top jumpers came down the hill behind him, he was pushed out of the championship round.
Switzerland's Simon Ammann continued to shock the world by posting one of the longest jumps of the second round
with an effort of 132.5 meters.
Gold medal favorite Sven Hannawald of Germany matched the jump and earned the right to jump last in the final round based on his World Cup ranking. Only the top 30 (out of 50) jumpers in the second round advanced.
Steamboat Springs' Jones, the only other American to advance to the qualifying round, jumped 110.5 meters on his second-round jump to finish in 42nd place overall.
"I did what I could with what I had," Jones said. "I thought I had a little better jump than that, but it just wasn't enough. I knew coming into this was going to be an experience-type of competition. I think 2006 is going to be my best chance at a medal."
So the Americans, who had hoped to put three jumpers in the top 30 in Park City, had to sit and watch the final round.
In that round, Ammann posted a jump that thrilled the crowd and gave
him the first-place slot with just Hannawald remaining. The German posted a great jump to make things interesting but may have pushed a little too hard, falling onto his back on the landing. Hannawald finished in fourth place.
"It was a crazy day, and it has been a crazy week," Ammann said. "I did not believe I would be here and I definitely didn't think I would win again."
Poland's Adam Malysz was second and Finland's Matti Hautamaeki was third.