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Bickner, Hoffman take top spots at U.S. Olympic ski jumping trials

Illinois native Kevin Bickner qualifies for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
Published: Dec. 26, 2021 at 9:48 AM EST
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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (WCAX) - Kevin Bickner said he was fine if qualifying for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics was his Christmas present this year. The Illinois native experienced more than just a weekend holiday getaway at the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex as Bickner qualified for his second Winter Olympics.

The 25-year-old previously competed in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics where he placed among the top-20 in both individual events, and recorded the farthest jump in the first round of the normal hill event. Bickner jumped his way to another victory on Christmas Day at the U.S. Olympic ski jumping trials by taking first place with a total distance of 257 meters. In doing so, Bickner qualified for Team USA and will be present for the Beijing Olympics.

“To not have to worry about trying to make an Olympics is super nice,” Bickner said. “I can just focus on my ski jumping for the rest of the season and be as prepared as possible for Beijing.”

Bickner landed in first place at the trials 14 meters ahead of second place finisher Dean Decker.

On the women’s side, it was a much closer ending. The hometown favorite out of Lake Placid, Nina Lussi, received an extra roar from the crowd as she glided down the slope. Lussi would finish in sixth place with a final distance of 161 meters. But the day would belong to Anna Hoffman.

Madison’s (Wis.) very own edged out Logan Sankey by half a meter to win the trials by a total distance of 214.5 meters to Sankey’s 214.

“I felt good,” Hoffman said. “I think that’s kind of a mentality you got to have every jump, but I got up in the air and just felt like I was doing some stuff right. I just wanted to make sure to hold my flight and keep going as far as I could.”

A full list for who will be competing for Team USA in Beijing will be announced later in January.

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