Canadians near podium in ski jumping 

International fields for Nordic Combined, ski jumping events

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Female ski jumpers made their case for inclusion in the 2010 Winter Games with two very competitive days on the standard jump at Whistler Olympic Park this past week.

On Dec. 17, Masa Vtic of Slovenia was the top jumper, bouncing back from third place after her first jump to first overall with 243.5 points. Her first jump was 99.5 metres, and her second was even closer to the bottom at 102 metres. Her skills and style points were consistently high.

Ulrike Graessler of Germany was second with 240.5 points, and Anette Sagen of Norway third with 238.0.

Nata De Leeuw was the top Canadian in fourth place with a score of 228.0. De Leeuw was the only Canadian to crack the top-15.

It was a truly international event with 30 jumpers representing nine countries.

On Dec. 18, where the second jump was called because of the wind, Anna Haefele of Germany took the gold medal with a distance of 104.5 metres on her first attempt. Anette Sagen was second, Grassler third and De Leeuw fourth once again — this time by just one point. Atsuko Tanaka was 14 th for Canada.

The park also hosted a men’s Continental Cup Nor-Am Nordic Combined event, which drew some of the top men in the world for the opportunity to race and jump at the 2010 Olympic venues.

There were two races, both of which included a 10 km cross-country race and one jump on the standard ski hill.

Todd Lodwick of the U.S. won the first event with a 111-metre jump and a time of 26:01.55 on the course. It was not the longest jump of the day or the fastest time on skis, but consistency pays off in Nordic Combined.

Toni Englert of Germany was second with a 119-metre jump and a 10 km time of 27:11.5, while his teammate Steffen Tepe was third with a jump of 93.5 metres and the fastest time of 25:33.1.

Although Canada has struggled in the past just to participate in the sport, Wesley Savill placed 29 th overall with his jump of 97.6 metres and time of 28:09.4

In the second event, Tobias Kammerlander of Austria took the win with a jump of 118.5 metres and a race time of 26:17.3. Lodwick ws second for the U.S. with a jump of 112 metres and a race time of 25:52.7, and Matthias Menz of Germany was third with a jump of 115.5 and a race time of 26:08.3.

Jason Myslicki vastly improved Canada’s standing with a 19 th place finish, jumping 98 metres and racing the course in 26:23.9.

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