HAKUBA, Japan (Aug. 28, 2016) – American Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, IL) soared to one of his best performances ever Sunday, taking the first round lead and holding on for a career-best seventh in a FIS Ski Jumping Summer Grand Prix on the Olympic jumps in Hakuba. Japan’s Taku Takeuchi took the win after finishing second Saturday on the HS131 meter hill.
Bickner, who grew up skiing in Chicago’s Norge Ski Club, soared 135.0 meters on his first jump to take the lead over Takeuchi. Bickner’s towering jump came within one meter of the hill record of 136.0 meters held by Swiss Olympic champion Simon Amman. It boosted him into 16th place in the Summer Grand Prix standings, despite competing in only three of the six events so far.
“It was a bit surprising considering I don’t feel as comfortable on this hill,” laughed Bickner after the competition. “But I had a great jump in the right conditions and was able to make the most of it. I think getting a new hill record would’ve been very exciting and so getting so close to that distance meant a lot for me. Now I know I’m capable of going just as far as the top guys.”
The FIS Summer Grand Prix features most of the top World Cup ski jumpers. Bickner’s performances have ranked as the best for Americans since Clint Jones finished second on the tour in the fall of 2002.
Courtesy of Tom Kelly and USSA