WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK, BC (Feb. 13) – After qualifying Friday to compete in the medal round on Saturday, the young Olympic Ski Jumping Team missed out on the top-30 final of Saturday’s normal hill competition. Swiss Simon Amman, who swept the two events at the 2002 Olympics, won the first gold medal of the Games.
Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, NY) and Nick Alexander (Lebanon, NH) tied for 41st with scores of 106.5 on their first-round jumps, while two-time Olympian Anders Johnson (Park City, UT) was 49th.
“The last two days haven’t been my best two jumps, but it’s alright, it happens,” Johnson said. “I’m still having fun, so that’s key.”
Amman combined jumps of 105.0 and 108.5 (check this) to win.
“I just sort of choked on that jump,” Alexander said afterward. “I had an amazing jump before. I was tied for third or fourth in the trial rounds. I’ve just got to keep my head together.”
Ten days away from his 18th birthday, Frenette is the youngest male competitor on the U.S. Olympic Team, and he kept things in perspective after a jump that quite live up to his expectations.
“I’m one of the youngest to do it, so that’s good, looking forward to my career,” Frenette said. “It’s just a starting point. Hopefully, (I’ll) keep building from the Olympics and get better and hopefully be one of the best one day.”
“He had a big chance,” said 1976 Olympic silver medalist Jochen Danneberg, the Olympic Ski Jumping Team coach who works with athletes in the Project X jumping program. “I think he was too nervous. He laid the pressure on himself.”
It was understandable, considering Frenette had never jumped on a World Cup stage and was making his international top-flight debut.
It was quite an achievement for the entire group to reach the finals in Friday’s qualification, in which Frenette was 30th with a score of 115.0, Alexander was 35th, and Johnson was 40th.
All three competitors will participate in the large hill event, with qualification slated for next Friday and medal rounds on Saturday.
Pressure aside, though, these athletes have two more weeks to enjoy the games, and they plan on soaking them in.
“It’s awesome, it’s a great experience,” Johnson said. “So far these Olympics have run really well and really smooth, and everybody’s having a good time.”
2010 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
Whistler Olympic Park, BC – Feb. 13
Normal Hill Competition
1. Simon Ammann, Switzerland, 276.5
2. Adam Malysz, Poland, 269.5
3. Gregor Schlierenzauer, Austria, 268.0
4. Janne Ahonen, Finland, 263.0
5. Michael Uhrmann, Germany, 262.5
T-41. Peter Frenette, Saranac Lake, NY, 106.5
T-41. Nick Alexander, Lebanon, NH, 106.5
49. Anders Johnson, Park City, UT, 92.5