Jessica Jerome earned the first American spot in the first women’s ski jumping competition in Olympics history, winning the U.S. trials Sunday in Park City, Utah.
Jerome scored 248.5 points on her two jumps to secure a spot in Sochi. Lindsay Van was second, 2.0 points back. Alissa Johnson was third with 240.0 points. Van and Johnson are not assured of going to Sochi because The other three Olympic spots will be determined by results in international competition.
Jerome’s spot is secure and, she said, satisfying.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I can wrap my head around it yet,” Jerome said. “It sounds clichéd, but it is a dream come true. I can’t wait to go and represent my country.”
Jerome’s Olympic opportunity comes after 15 years of requests by women jumpers to be included in the Olympics. Before the 2010 Games in Vancouver, 15 of the sport’s best jumpers filed a discrimination suit against the Vancouver Organizing Committee.
The controversy drew attention, and as a result the trials drew thousands of spectators, one of the largest crowds for a winter sports event in Utah since the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
“It is definitely a feel-good story with a happy ending,” Jerome said. “People like that. They like to hear about that stuff. It doesn’t surprise me.”
Nicholas Fairall won the men’s competition with 253.5 points to earn his first Olympic spot.
Miller struggles again
For Bode Miller and the rest of the U.S. Ski Team, this World Cup season has been a downhill flop.
Miller’s form had improved in recent weeks, but he took a step backward Sunday in Bormio, Italy, when he finished 35th in a race won with a perfect run from Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.
“This wasn’t good for my confidence,” Miller said. “But my skiing was fine.”
Miller was an early starter and attributed his troubles to snowfall during the first half of his run.
“I couldn’t see anything,” the two-time overall World Cup winner said. “Not seeing makes the bumps much worse. But I’ve been skiing well. I skied well in the training runs, so we just got to stay focused.”
Vonn plan unclear
Lindsey Vonn’s head coach said no date has been set for the injured skier’s return to the World Cup and that she might not compete at all before the Sochi Olympics in February.
Vonn flew back to Vail, Colo., last week after hurting her surgically repaired right knee at a downhill race in France.
“Her knee was swollen again after Val d’Isere,” U.S. women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser said. “There is no decision yet if, or where, she is going to race ahead of the Olympics.”
Davis wins 1,000
Shani Davis ruled again in the 1,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic speedskating trials, edging Brian Hansen in Kearns, Utah.
The two-time defending Olympic champion won with a time of 1 minute, 7.52 seconds. Hansen came up just short in the final race, crossing the line in 1:07.53.
But the most poignant performance was turned in by Jonathan Garcia, who was disqualified the previous day in the 500 for not wearing his timing transponders, after skating fast enough to make the Olympics. He came back to finish fourth in the 1,000 at 1:07.96, good enough to claim the first Olympic berth of his career.
Joey Mantia is also going to the Olympics for the first time after taking third in 1:07.88.
Heather Richardson captured her second victory of the trials, beating world record holder Brittany Bowe in the 1,000 meters. Sugar Todd locked up her second race in Sochi by finishing third. Kelly Gunther took the fourth spot, just ahead of three-time Olympian Elli Ochowicz.
• Jessie Diggins of Stillwater finished 18th Sunday in a 1.5K freestyle sprint in the Tour de Ski at Oberhof, Germany. The event continues with a skate sprint Tuesday.
• Marlies Schild of Austria set the record for most World Cup slalom victories Sunday in Lienz, Austria, winning her 35th race. American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin finished second and lost out on the chance to become the youngest winner of five slaloms in one calendar year.