The call caught U.S. Ski Team Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner by surprise.
The call in which two-time Olympian Alan Alborn informed Bodensteiner he wanted to come back to the U.S. Special Jumping Team "came out of the blue," Boden-steiner said.
Alborn had retired at the end of the 2002-03 season.
"We were not pushing him to come back. He called me on his own, but I was happy to hear from him," Bodensteiner said.
Clint Jones was the only American jumper on the World Cup Tour last year. The Steamboat native admits traveling across Europe as a one-man team took a toll on him and had an impact on his performances. Jones had two top-30 finishes.
Most of the younger U.S. jumpers spent their time in America competing in the Super Tour Series with inconsistent results.
So when Alborn called, Bodensteiner was listening.
"I think he took a year off and realized that he still had a lot to contribute to this team and the sport," Bodensteiner said. "After talking to him on the phone I think he is ready to climb on board, at least through Torino (Italy)."
Bodensteiner thinks that if Alborn, who will turn 24 in December and already has won five national titles, returns to his old form, it could give a lift to a team that is looking for a spark with just 665 days to go until the next winter Olympic Games.
Jones said Alborn will become his roommate when he moves to Park City, Utah, later this month. He is expected to begin training again this May.
"It's awesome to have him back," Jones said.
Jones and Alborn bumped into one another at the final World Cups of the season in Norway, where Alborn's girlfriend lives. At that time, Alborn expressed an interest in coming back to the team.
Jones said Alborn called him in Park City a few weeks later, and the two had a long talk about where the team was headed, how committed Jones was to the team and about Alborn's return.
Bodensteiner thinks Alborn's time away from the team was a chance for the young jumper to figure out what he wanted from life and to recover from some nagging injuries that just wouldn't heal while he was competing.
The Nordic director said he didn't know if the resignation of U.S coaches Kari Ylianttila and Matt Terwillegar in late March had any influence on Alborn's decision to return. However, Bodensteiner thinks the change in leadership will inspire the team during the upcoming season.
"Those guys (Ylianttila and Terwillegar) were awesome guys, but they've been coaching ski jumping for a long time," Jones said. "It was just a job for them."
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