With ski jumping on the books at the Winter Olympics, Team USA has hope for the future

Decker Dean competes in the Men’s Large Hill Individual Trials round during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on February 12, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.

ZHANGJIAKOU, China — And then there were five.

Shortly after Team USA announced the 222 athletes heading to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games – including two-time Olympians Kevin Bickner and Casey Larson and debutant Patrick Gasienica – Anna Hoffman was called up to join her teammates in China.

The 21-year-old from Madison, Wis., was the top American at the Olympic ski jumping trials but had to wait to see if another quota spot would open up for the United States. When the Italian ski jumping team dropped out a week before the opening. Ceremony, the United States added Hoffman, continuing the tradition of having a female ski jumper compete at every Winter Games since adding women to the program in 2014.

Two days later, another quota place opened up for men.

First-time Olympian Decker Dean, who was next in the Continental Cup standings, rounded out the US ski jumping delegation to an even handful.

With the 21-year-old from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the men had enough athletes to compete in the team event, which took place on the final day of ski jumping Monday night at the National Ski Jumping Center in Zhangjiakou.

The men’s team ski jumping event had become a quadrennial tradition in the United States since 1988, when the event was added to the Olympic program.

In Beijing, the four-man USA team placed 10th overall with a collective score of 261.0 points. Although Larson recorded the team’s best 106-meter jump, it wasn’t enough to take them to the final, where only the top eight advanced.

The best Olympic result for men was on normal hill, where all four athletes qualified for the final round of competition. The quartet beat their placing from the previous round, which did not see them crack the top 40. In the end, Larson finished 39th, Bickner 43rd, Dean 44th and Gasienica 49th.

Larson admitted that while he is enjoying experiencing the Games for the second time – after finishing 9th in the team event in PyeongChang and in the top 40 on the normal hill – he shared something he didn’t do not like.

“I don’t want to keep getting 35th, 39th – I want to win,” he said. “All athletes do it, but something has to happen.”

Want to follow the athletes of the American team during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Olympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.

About Joey J. Hott

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