USA Record for Bickner: 244.5 meters
VIKERSUND, Norway (Mar. 19, 2017) - Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, IL) soared to new American ski jumping record Sunday on the HS225m ski flying hill in Vikersund, flying 244.5meters - nearly three football fields in length. He finished a career-best 15th in the World Cup competition. Poland's Kamil Stoch took the win.
Bickner’s towering jump came on his first ride of the day, after a strong 233.5 meter trial. He backed it up with a 234.5 meter second jump, crashing on landing but still hanging onto 15th place. It was the longest ride of the first round and vaulted him into 12th, and second longest jump of the day. It was only nine meters off the hill record of 253.5 meters set a day earlier by Stefan Kraft of Austria.
A year ago in Vikersund, Bickner flew 214.5 meters - starting to push towards the U.S. record of 221.5 meters set by Alan Alborn in 2002 in Planica, Slovenia. For nearly a year, he had looked forward to returning.
"I've been looking forward to this event the entire season, said the 20-year-old who grew up outside Chicago and now trains at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, UT. "Vikersund is a big deal to me. It was here I had my first experience ski flying and first time going over 200 meters. I also felt like it was a very unique hill and rather challenging and I had learned how to jump it so there would be an advantage."
In qualifying Friday, he went 198.5 to easily make the field along with fellow Norge Ski Club jumper Michael Glasder, who finished 33rd Sunday with a ride of 192.0 meters. Through the weekend he worked on the fine points of his technique on the towering hill before finding the sweet spot on Sunday.
Bickner's performance at Vikersund comes near the end of a strong season for the young ski jumper, part of a new generation in the sport. His rising results profile has become the best for the USA in 15 years.
"I think these accomplishments are really important for the advancement of ski jumping in America," he said. "It will grab people's attention and help make the sport known. It will also make people realize the real progress ski jumping in America has made in the last few years. I feel like it's been ignored and assumed dead but this will let people know it's very much alive and on an upward climb. I'd like to know what this will bring for the upcoming summer and how ski jumping is viewed by Americans right before the Olympics."
The World Cup now heads to the ski flying hill in Planica March 23-26.
- Kevin Bickner of the Norge Ski Club and USA Nordic set a new American jumping record with a ride of 244.5 meters at Vikersund.
- The 20-year-old scored a career-best 15th place finish, despite a fall on his second jump.
Men's HS225m Ski Flying