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Alborn locks up Olympic berth

— U.S. Ski Team member Alan Alborn proved why he is one of the best special jumpers in the country right now.

The 21-year-old skier, who trained for several years in Steamboat Springs, posted the top jump in both the first and second rounds of Wednesday’s Gold Cup competition at Howelsen Hill to earn a $10,000 check and an automatic berth in the 2001 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

“Things went OK, they could have been better, but the technique is getting more consistent all the time. The effect of the actual jump is getting stronger every time.”

Alborn is from Alaska, but is no stranger to Steamboat Springs. He trained here several years ago as a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and tries to get back to Howelsen when he gets a chance.

“I was here last year at this time I like jumping at Steamboat because it’s unique,” Alborn said. “It’s much different than other hills, so it’s fun to have differences all the time.”

Following Alborn in the standings was fellow U.S. Ski Team member and local skier Clint Jones in second. Another local and U.S. Team member, Brendan Doran, came in third.

“When I first met Clint he was 9 or 10 years old and he was about

2 feet tall. I always saw a lot of talent in him,” Alborn said. “The biggest thing I remember about him is that when my parents came here to watch me train they would always tell me that I had better watch out for Clint because he was going to kick my butt one of these days, and sure enough he has. I think we have a good partnership because we both have the same goal and both know what it takes. If one of us sees that the other is having an off day we kind of help each other out.”

But neither skier was having an off day on Tuesday as they battled for a paycheck.

“My trial round wasn’t very good, but the other jumps gradually got a little better,” Jones said. “The jumps were not as good as they have been the last couple of weeks, but they were not too bad.”

Jones has just missed the final cut in his past four World Cup events and, along with Alborn, just arrived back in Steamboat for this event earlier this week.

“It’s getting a little bit frustrating,” Jones said. “But it’s nice to know that you’re right there. Right now, I’m trying to get a little bit extra out of it because I know that might be the little bit extra that gets me over the top.”

Jones may have been looking for that extra push in the Gold Cup event, but it wasn’t enough to top his World Cup teammate.

Alborn scored 238.7 points on jumps of 118.5 and 113.5 meters. Jones also posted big scores, collecting 226.4 points on jumps of 115.5 and 110.5 meters. Doran rounded out the top three by scoring 177.1 points on jumps of 101.5 and 101 meters.

Local skier Tommy Schwall came in fourth, Eastern division skier Casey Colby was fifth and another local skier, Logan Gerber, was sixth.

Intermountain division skier Anders Johnson was seventh, Eastern division skier Brian Welch was eighth, Central division skier Jim Denny was ninth and Intermountian skier Tim Nelson rounded out the top 10.


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