Thursday, October 31, 2002
Steamboat Springs Two Olympics and a national title are the things local ski jumper Brendan Doran is going to remember as he walks away from the U.S. Ski Team this year.
Doran, who was a member of the American squad from 1994 until 2002, said he plans to keep jumping a little this season but doesn't expect to return to the World Cup or international competition again.
"Yes, I've retired," Doran said. "I didn't make any official statements last year. I just wanted to finish out the season and see what happened."
Doran said he made the decision in February after a disappointing performance at the Olympics that ended with him being admitted to the Salt Lake City hospital, too ill to compete in the team event.
"That's when I knew it was time to call it quits," Doran said. "I was sick all season because I kept trying to close the gap with the people who were better than me."
The 23-year-old Doran cited his battle to lose weight as one of his main reasons for not attempting to come back this season.
"It was becoming an unhealthy situation for me," Doran said. "I couldn't keep the weight off and it was getting harder and harder for me to keep up with some of the other jumpers."
At 6-foot-2 and 148 pounds, Doran said his frame was just too large to keep up with the new breed of lighter, quicker jumpers who are dominating the sport today.
Two emerging American jumpers, Alan Alborn and Clint Jones, have also pushed the expectations for the American team to new levels. While the U.S. Ski Team is still searching for a solid No. 3 guy, it was clear Doran's results last year were not what the coaches had hoped for, so it wasn't a surprise he was not named to the team this year.
"I was one of those in-between guys," Doran said. "We were bigger and stronger, but these days, to be a jumper, you have to be smaller, lighter and quicker. Timing is everything and this just isn't my time."
But in his time with the U.S. Ski Team, however, Doran made his mark through hard work and dedication. He earned two trips to the Olympic games (Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002) and he won a national title in 2000 on the K-88 in Steamboat Springs. He also won a Continental Cup in Westby in 1995.
But Doran's career was plagued with a number of injuries that kept him from reaching the highest level. Doran and several other veteran members of the team fell victim to budget cuts following the 1998 season. Doran, however, didn't give up when his spot was cut. He spent his own money to continue to compete at an international level in 1999 and eventually won his spot back by the end of the season.
"The Olympics were great," Doran said. "But nothing beats winning a national championship in your own hometown on your own home hill."
Doran did that in 2000, when he won the national title in Steamboat.
He said he wasn't sure what the future holds for him.
Right now, he is working on the family's ranch near Steamboat and contemplating his future.
Doran said he hasn't trained or even thought about jumping this summer, but he might have a change of heart once the snow covers Howelsen Hill.
Either way, Doran hopes to remain involved in ski jumping at some level and is thinking about coaching.