Santa’s reindeer won’t be the only ones gliding through the air this Christmas, America’s top ski jumpers will soar right beside them with a trip to the Winter Olympics on the line.
The U.S. Ski Jumping Olympic Trials are set for takeoff from Lake Placid, 12:30 p.m. ET on Christmas Day. The full day of competition airs live on NBC and is streaming on NBCOlympics.com.
All three individual Olympic ski jumping disciplines will be contested: men’s normal hill, men’s large hill and women’s normal hill. According to U.S. Ski and Snowboard, the winner of each event is guaranteed a spot on the Olympic team. Beyond that, though, nothing is guaranteed. Exactly how many athletes Team USA will be able to send to the 2022 Winter Games, and who those athletes will be, won’t be known until January.
A handful of athletes are aiming for a return to the Winter Games after having competed in PyeongChang. Among those are Kevin Bickner, who led all Americans with an 18th place finish in the men’s normal hill, and Nita Englund, the only female U.S. ski jumper from 2018 still active in the sport. Abby Ringquist and two-time Olympian Sarah Hendrickson both announced their retirements shortly after PyeongChang.
Among those bidding for a first trip to the Olympics are Andrew Urlaub, who placed fifth at the FIS Summer Grand Prix, and Nina Lussi, a native of Lake Placid.
The United States has only ever won one Olympic medal in ski jumping: Anders Haugen's bronze from Chamonix 1924.