U.S. ski jumpers earn spots in Olympic medal contest | SteamboatToday.com

U.S. ski jumpers earn spots in Olympic medal contest

3 American men jumped far enough today to qualify for Saturday contest

— Germany's Michael Uhrmann topped the list of qualifiers in today's Normal Hill Men's Ski Jumping qualifying event, but three Americans walked away as winners on the first day of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The world's best ski jumpers battled today for a spot in Saturday's medal event. Ten jumpers, including Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer, who posted the longest ride of the day at 107 meters, were already in the main event.

The American men's ski jumping team, which lost the support of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association soon after the 2006 Olympics, landed three jumpers in the top 40. Peter Frenette, Nicholas Alexander and Anders Johnson all earned spots in Saturday's medal event, which will also be held at Whistler Olympic Park, north of Vancouver, British Columbia.

"I'm confident that with my jumps that they will qualify," Johnson said after training earlier this week. "I just want to stay focused and keep doing the same thing."

The American will get another shot at doing the same thing after he finished 40th in today's event with a jump of 93.5 meters. Teammate Frenette led the American effort in 31st position with a jump of 97 meters, and Alexander was 35th with his effort of 96 meters.

In addition to Schlierenzauer, top jumpers Switzerland's Simon Ammann, Austria's Thomas Morgenstern, Poland's Adam Malysz and Finland's Janne Ahonen were already pre-qualified for the medal event.