Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Pragelato, Italy Clint Jones and Alan Alborn wrapped up their Olympic experience Monday night with strong individual efforts in the special jumping team event.
Alborn jumped 114.5 meters, and Jones cleared 109 meters to lead the American team. Tommy Schwall jumped 99 meters, and Anders Johnson made his Olympic debut with a distance of 93.5 meters. Jones and Schwall are from Steamboat Springs.
"We definitely had a better night," American coach Corby Fisher said. "There were 16 teams out there, and they all have really good jumpers. We were able to have some fun and to leave the games on a positive note."
Austria won the team event. Austrian jumpers Andreas Widhoelzl, Andreas Kofler, Martin Koch and Thomas Morgenstern combined to score 984 points in the event. Finland was second with 976.6 points, and Norway took bronze with 950.1 points.
The Americans finished 14th with 286.8 points.
"It was a big improvement," Fisher said. "We had some high hopes for the large hill on Saturday, but it didn't happen. The guys really stepped it up tonight and gave us some results to build on."
The team will stay in Europe for the next 10 days until the World Cup resumes in Lahti, Finland. Fisher said he would head home for a few days but plans to rejoin the team before the next World Cup event March 4 and 5.
"There is still a lot of good winter left out there," Fisher said. "This was a great opportunity to represent our country, which is not a ski jumping nation, and we are all very proud."
Other World Cup events will include competitions in Kuopio, Finland, on March 7; Lillehammer, Norway, on March 10; Olso, Norway, on March 12, and Planica, Slovakia, on March 18 and 19.