PARK CITY, Utah - Jessica Jerome earned the first American spot in the first women's ski jumping competition in Olympics history, winning the U.S. trials Sunday.
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. Nina Lussi of Lake Placid placed sixth with 196.5 points.
"Honestly, I don't know if I can wrap my head around it yet," Jerome said. "It sounds cliched, but it is a dream come true. I can't wait to go and represent my country."
Peter Frenette of Saranac Lake, left, smiles on the podium after placing third in Sunday’s ski jumping U.S. Olympic Trials in Park City, Utah. First-place finisher Nicholas Fairall, center, earned an automatic bid to the Sochi Games in February with the victory while Anders Johnson, right, finished second.
(AP Photo — Jim Urquhart)
Nicholas Fairall won the men's competition with 253.5 points to earn his first Olympic spot. Anders Johnson was second, 4.5 points behind. Peter Frenette of Saranac Lake finished third with 245.5 points.
The other three Olympic spots on each squad will be determined by results in international competition. The teams are expected to be named Jan. 20.
Jerome scored 124.0 points on her first jump, clearing 94.5 meters, to take a 1.5-point lead. Van appeared poised to overtake Jerome on her second jump after scoring 124.0 points, but Jerome had a 124.5-point effort.
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. The winner-take-all event was brodcasted live on NBC.
"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."
Fairall cleared 96.0 meters on his first jump to score 127.5 points and take a 6.0-point lead over Johnson. After Johnson scored 126.5 points on his second jump, Fairall cleared 96.0 meters again and scored 126.0 points.
"I've been dreaming for a long time to go to the Olympics and now I'm glad in my first Olympic trials to be able to do this," Fairall said. "It's really exciting."
Frenette and Fairall will depart Tuesday for the final two stops of the Four Hills Tournee in Austria and then travel to Kulm, Austria for FIS World Cup ski flying. Johnson will depart next week with other members of the U.S. COC team for Wisla, Poland.
"Based upon how the guys have been jumping so far this season, I was really happy. It was a very fair competition, and I was pretty much expecting the guys that placed in the top three to be there," said U.S. men's jumping coach Clint Jones. "Pete Frenette jumped very well and was right in there. Anders, who has probably more jumps on this hill than anyone else, had some difficulty on the landing on the first jump but still was very strong."
Frenette is looking to compete in his second Olympic Games. He and Johnson were members of the U.S. team that competed in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.