There are four men representing the U.S. Ski Jumping Team at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, but it will be a stunning result if Team USA brings home a medal in the large hill event.
While America is known as an international powerhouse in the world of sports, ski jumping historically hasn't been the nation's strong suit. Only one man has ever brought home an Olympic medal in this discipline, and you have to go all the way back to 1924 (Anders Haugen) to find him.
This trend held true during the competition on the normal hill, as none of the four Americans was able to advance past Round 1 after only three made it past the qualifying round.
Here's a look at the upcoming schedule for the large hill, followed by a closer examination of the athletes who'll attempt to shock the world with a medal for Team USA.
|Feb. 14||12:30 p.m.||Large Hill Men's Individual Qualifying|
|Feb. 15||12:30 p.m.||Large Hill Men's Individual Round 1|
|Feb. 15||1:35 p.m.||Large Hill Men's Individual Finals|
Nick Fairall won the Olympic Trials and is America's best hope to medal in Sochi in this event.
However, he suffered one of his worst performances of the season during the qualifiers for the normal hill, finishing in 50th place and missing the cut to advance to Round 1.
As pointed out by DLE Agency, though, past failures can sometimes spur athletes to success:
Sometimes a perceived set-back is really just a set-up for future success. We're behind you @Nick_Fairall! The Large Hill will be yours!— DLE Agency (@DLEagency) February 9, 2014
But given the fact that Fairall's best finish this season was ninth place, it's not likely he will suddenly become an Olympic hero in 2014.
Nick Alexander, Peter Frenette and Anders Johnson round out the American quartet competing in Sochi.
Alexander helped Team USA earn an 11th-place finish in the team event during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and has been competing at this level since 2009. He was joined by Frenette and Johnson in those Games, and the experience this trio has to offer could be of assistance to Fairall.
Johnson wasn't happy with his 47th-place finish in the normal hill event, but the three-time Olympian isn't letting it get to him.
“My jumping is a little inconsistent right now,” he said, via Amy Donaldson of the Deseret News. “I was just a little off on that jump. It definitely wasn’t the best jump I’ve had so far, but it’s all right. It’s still fun.”
Frenette also didn't seem too perturbed by his poor finish (No. 45), choosing instead to focus on landing better jumps in the upcoming large hill event, via his Twitter account:
Not my best jumps. But had some fun. Now to the big hill! Congrats to Kamil Stoch on the win! #sadtweet— Peter Frenette (@pfSKIJUMPING) February 9, 2014
Podium finish for Team USA?
Likely, the Americans won't fare any better on the big hill than they did on the little one. Ski jumping is typically an event owned by the Europeans, while America just does its best to compete with the big dogs.
Still, one can always hope for an Olympic miracle, and you can be sure the men competing on Team USA will give it their all to achieve that goal.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78