The United States national skiing championships, held at Brattleboro, Vermont on Sunday (23 February), confirmed that the United States is still a long way from challenging European supremacy in the sport.
SV PULL OUT TO GV Spectators walking through mud in car park
GV Car though muddy water
GV Men carrying women
GVs Competitors jumping (2 shots)
GVs Skiers down slope (3 shots)
Before the jumping started officially, spectators had to do some jumping of their own in the parking lot.
It resembled a moat without the draw-bridge or castle - although it did prove that jumping fans do not become muddled by any obstacle.
And that chivalry is soaring to new heights -- at least in Brattleboro, Vermont.
While an early morning rain left its visible effect at the jump's base, it also took its toll on seventy-meters Harris Hill. Like seasoned thoroughbreds, jumpers pray for fast tracks; for the psychological thrust that will propel them physically perhaps one metre more. Although forty-degree weather reduces length, it fails to thaw the competitors determination, or crack the confidence one must possess to hit fifty miles an hour in the chute and then - for just three of four seconds -- glide fully extended on a flight that must have style, control and, of course, distance, in order to win points. Judges award up to twenty points for poise -- adding feet for the final score.
Eighty-eight jumpers entered the Nationals, with Minnesota avenging its Superball loss topping first place. Jerry martin -- national ski jump member -- from Minneapolis racked up two-hundred-and-ten points to get by J. Rand, out of Lake Placid New York. Hometwon favourite, Bernie wells, finished third. The U.S. still less behind Europeans in world
A broader support base, and programmes for youngsters are needed before gold medals will become a realistic goal. This year's national champ is expected to finish no higher than fifteen when the World Championships are held on Oslo, Norway, next month.
David Nolan in Brattleboro, Vermont.
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This film is serviced with an English Commentary of TVN reporter David Nolan.
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Background: The United States national skiing championships, held at Brattleboro, Vermont on Sunday (23 February), confirmed that the United States is still a long way from challenging European supremacy in the sport.
Poor skiing conditions -- rain and mild temperatures -- caused problems for spectators using the water-logged car-park as well as competitors on the jump slope.
But the eighty-eight skiers who entered were not easily deterred -- and the Keenness of the competition befitted the occasion.
The eventual jump winner was Martin from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who scored 210 points to beat J.Rand of Lake Placid, New York, and home-town favourite, Bernie Wells.
But not even Martin's performance is expected to lift him beyond fifteenth place in the World Championships in Oslo, Norway, next month.
As yet, skiing in the United States lacks a broad support base and intensive training programmes for the young - two goals which have to be reached before international gold medals can be won.