LAKE PLACID, New York ??вЂќ Diminutive ski jumper Marcin Bachleda of Poland kicked off the long Columbus Day weekend on Friday by tying the hill distance record en route to winning a SuperTour competition on the 90 meter hill in Lake Placid.
Bachleda’s victory commenced the Flaming Leaves Festival, presented by Citizens Bank, and served as a prelude to this weekend’s Continental Cup doubleheader at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex. All three meets are being conducted by the New York Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA).
Sailing from the artificial surfaces of the 90 meter hill, Bachleda posted a second jump of 101.5 meters in overcast conditions and fickled winds. That mark matched the hill record which he now shares with Alex Glueck of Steamboat Springs. Colo. Earlier, Bachleda soared 98 meters in the opening round and totaled 263.5 points for distance and style.
“The second jump was very good and displayed one of my highest levels of jumping,” said the winner who competed on the 1980 Olympic site for the first time. “The profile of the jump is old style but the conditions were good. We have other hills that are like this. But I’m in good form and when you jump like this you like all the hills.”
Second place went to Maximilian Mechler of Germany with rounds of 99 and 95 meters for 258 points, while third place was taken by Clint Jones of the United States, a member of the 2002 Olympic team. Jones, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., captured the Chevrolet 90 Meter Summer Ski Jump in July at the same location. His cumulative standing puts Jones first overall in the chase for the Art Devlin Cup, named after the five-time Lake Placid Olympian and television commentator. The third and final leg of the Devlin chase will occur at the New Year’s tournament in Lake Placid.
Bill Demong of Vermontville, N.Y., a 1998 and 2002 Olympian, placed ninth. Brian Welch of Scarborough, Me. was 10th and Tommy Schwall, also of Steamboat Springs, took 11th. Welch and Schwall were members of the 2002 Winter Olympic team.
Canada’s Atsuko Tanaka had the two most consistent jumps of the day as she captured the women’s division. Using a higher start than the men, Tanaka jumped 93 and 92 meters for 237.5 points.
“The changing winds were not that bad because we had lots of speed,” said Tanaka, whose parents were married in Japan prior to moving to Calgary, Alberta. “I’ve been working on my timing and moving forward on the take-off. I’m getting better.”
Anette Sagen of Norway wound up second on attempts of 87.5 and 93.5 meters and a total of 227 points. Ulrike Graessler of Germany jumped into third with 222.5 points after rounds of 92.5 and 88.5 meters.
The United States, recognized as the nation with the most team depth, positioned four in the top 10 lead by Lindsey Van fourth, Jessica Jerome sixth, Alissa Johnson eighth and Abby Hughes ninth. All four are students at the National Sports Foundation in Park City, Utah.
Alex Madden of Saranac Lake, N.Y. won the junior category by jumping 82 and 88.5 meters. Madden accrued 202.5 points. Second place went to Evan Schauer of Fox River Grove, Ill. with two rounds of 84.5 meters and 197 points. Andrew Bliss of Lake Placid registered 81.5 and 79.5 meters and 180 points.
The action resumes Saturday and Sunday when athletes from 11 nations take to the hill for the final two meets of the Continental Cup season. This summer tour is the start of the Olympic qualification process for many Nordic jumpers. Candidates for the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy must first advance from the Continental Cup to the World Cup tour before they can be considered for the Olympic Games.
For more information on ORDA venues and events and for complete results of today’s competition, please log on to www.orda.org.