Steamboat jumpers fall short in normal-hill competition

Alborn, Jones and Schwall look ahead to large-hill event

— Alan Alborn felt as if he should have gotten 2 percent more out of his legs Sunday night during the finals of the Olympic special jumping finals in Prageloto, Italy. The extra boost would have helped.

"I missed about 2 percent of what I need to do as far as overall leg power," Alborn said. "It could have carried me another 10 meters."

Alborn needed to jump only about three meters farther to advance to the final round of the small-hill special jumping event. Instead, Sebastian Colloredo of Italy took the last spot with a jump of 95.5 meters and 113.5 points. In Sunday's final round, Lars Bystoel of Norway won the gold medal.

Alborn, one of two Steamboat Springs jumpers in the finals, just missed the qualifying cut on his first effort, placing 40th with a jump of 92 meters. Only the top 30 jumpers advanced to the final round.

Teammate Clint Jones advanced to Sunday's final-round competition after Norway's Sigurd Mashahiko was disqualified for a suit violation in Saturday's qualifying round.

"I guess that's how it goes," Jones said. "I had a bad jump, but I got lucky."

Jones opened the finals with a good trail round, but his timing was off in the first official round, and it resulted in a jump of 87.9 meters and 106 points. It wasn't enough to push Jones into the final round with the world's best ski jumpers. He finished in 47th.

"Technically it was definitely better than my last two jumps, so I'm happy about that," Jones said. "I'll make some adjustments and come back for the large hill. I'm a lot more comfortable on that hill."

The large hill competition is later this week. Qualifying will take place Friday night, and the finals are scheduled for Saturday. Jones, Alborn and Steamboat teammate Tommy Schwall are expected to compete in the event.

Alborn said the American team didn't bring any expectations to the Turin Games and that he is just enjoying the Olympic experience. Alborn has been on a steady road to recovery since suffering an injury and undergoing surgery last year.

"Some days go well, some don't," Alborn said. "As long as we keep on the right track, everything will be fine."

Alborn and Jones said the level of competition is as high as ever and that a few small details can make the difference between being on the podium or failing to make the cut.

"Anyone of these guys can win," Alborn said. "A small mistake can make the difference between first place and 50th."

Norway's Bystoel won the competition with a total of 266.5 points. Finland's Matti Hautamaeki won silver with a score of 265.5 points, and Norway's Roar Ljoekelsoey won bronze with 264.5 points.

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