“I lived right across the street from the jump and my parents took me out just to test it out like any sport you’d try as a kid,” remembers Michael Glasder, Cary, Illinois native and Olympic ski jump hopeful for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. “I remember looking at the big hill at Norge thinking, ‘I’ll never be able to do that.’ Now I’m going off the big jumps around the world.”
Soon those big jumps could include the K90 and K120 jumps at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Through years of hard work and focus, Glasder has earned a spot alongside five other teammates on the USA Ski Jumping National Team, coached by Slovenian Bine Norcic. In the coming weeks he will know if he’s made it on the U.S. Olympic Ski Jumping Team. This would be great news for Norge Ski Club, which has not generated an Olympic athlete in the 108 years it has been operating, and certainly great news for Glasder, who barely missed a spot to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The better the USA Ski Jumping Team competes in World Cup competition, the more slots they can earn for their teammates for the Olympics. If they earn four slots, they can also compete in the K120 Large Hill team competition. In 2010 the team missed qualifying for a fourth slot by a single percentage point. It was a heart break for Glasder who was the fourth team member and was out, and the Olympic Team missed qualifying for team competition as well.
Glasder likes his chances this go around and considers his physical strength and flexibility his greatest assets, helping him jump farther and avoid injury. After an entire summer’s worth of training, including biking and running to keep weight down, quick explosive lower body weight training and a new training regimen of flying in a wind tunnel for minutes at a time, Glasder feels ready. Looking forward, he always remembers where it started. “Norge has the best junior program in the U.S. right now,” he says. “It’s always special to go there, ski there for the home crowd. The local community is unmatched.”