USA Nordic is excited to announce that it has come to an agreement with Women’s Ski Jumping USA (WSJ USA) to take over full responsibilities for the daily operations of the women’s National team, in order to unify and strengthen the United States’ overall presence in the international field. Recognizing that Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined are extremely unique sports and communities in the US, the two organizations will combine efforts moving forward, to ensure that all of their athletes have equitable opportunity and support.
“As USA Nordic has grown, we have invested in programs and opportunities which benefit all Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined athletes from youth programs at the club level, to some of the best coaches in the world, in order to support our bid to get American athletes on the podium,” said Billy Demong, Executive Director of USA Nordic and 2010 gold medalist. “Coming together in this Olympic season is the perfect springboard, ensuring sustainable financial support and competitive success for all of our athletes.”
By working as one team, USA Nordic looks to promote overall equality among its athletes and its funding levels, as well as fully fund the women’s World Cup team. They will also provide shared resources in sports psychology, coaching, physical therapy and equipment, and strengthen the development of the sport’s younger members and culture among its newer athletes, parents and communities.
“As all of our teams continue to train together on the hill, including the women’s National team, it is clear that we are one team and are stronger together. WSJ USA has accomplished amazing things working for equality in ski jumping and we are ecstatic to be able to help them accomplish their mission as we move forward as one,” said Demong.
“This is clearly the logical next step for the women jumpers,” said Peter Jerome, father of former National Team athlete Jessica Jerome, and the founder of WSJ USA. “It is my hope that the athletes and staff will be able to capitalize on the significant accomplishments of both organizations in recent years and work closely with the US Ski and Snowboard Association with the goal of developing and fielding best in the world athletes in Nordic ski jumping and Nordic combined.”
“I am encouraged by the effort the USA Nordic community has been putting into working together for the sustainable future of the sport,” said Alan Alborn, Head Coach of WSJ USA. “We have all known for some time the evolution of the men’s and women’s National team programs would consolidate efforts. Leading into the Olympic season, this decision from WSJ USA will further unite the athletes and support staff as well as the greater community in a crucial time leading into this winter season.”
Throughout the summer, athletes from both USA Nordic and WSJ USA have spent more time together than ever before, and the results and reactions have been positive on all fronts.
“Being an American ski jumper isn’t easy, so to work together overseas can only bring us strength of unity,” said WSJ USA athlete and 2013 World Champion Sarah Hendrickson. “The community in ski jumping and Nordic combined in the states is a small family. It only makes sense to work together as we fight for equality across the sport. Sharing coaches and plans makes sense from all aspects and it excites me for the future.”
“Success on either side will be shared by all involved which will further foster growth and development on all levels. The athletes will feed off each other’s successes and learn from each other’s failures and in doing so will very much create a unified team mentality,” said Bryan Fletcher, a senior member of the Nordic Combined National team.
USA Nordic Ski Jumper Kevin Bickner echoed that sense of teamwork that has always existed between the athletes: “By working together we can pool our resources and make the most of what we have. A bigger team means a stronger team.”
As Bickner pointed out, “This is how every other country in the world does it and I’m glad we’re finally making that transition.”