Steamboat ski jumper exceeds expectations in his first World Cup
Spending countless hours on the hill over the years to perfect his craft, Steamboat Springs ski jumper Erik Belshaw competed in his first World Cup event from Dec. 16-18 in Engelberg, Switzerland.
It was an emotional event for Belshaw, 18, who was not sure what to expect of himself from the weekend.
“I was really excited so, of course, I was nervous as well, but I wasn’t really expecting much,” Belshaw said. “I kind of thought it would just be a good experience to help me in the future, so I was not super nervous because I didn’t have too high of expectations.”
Following a strong showing Saturday, Dec. 17, Belshaw really broke it open the following day with a jump to 26th to earn a spot in the second round, where his 117.5 meter jump placed him 24th overall.
Belshaw was the youngest athlete in the competition and the youngest in the top 30 by more than two years. His performance surpassed everything he had hoped for.
“That was a big deal,” Belshaw said. “That was beyond any of the expectations I had, so I was really happy with that.”
Other Steamboat athletes to compete in World Cups that weekend include Nordic combined athletes Jasper Good and Grant Andrews, who finished 45th and 50th and in Ramsau, Austria on Friday. Andrews finished 44th the next day.
Also in Austria, Annika Malacinski had two strong performances in the women’s Nordic combined event where she jumped to 23rd and raced to 20th the first day and stayed consistent with a 21st overall finish on day two.
Mick Dierdorff raced his way to the Big Final of the Snowboard Cross event in Cervinia, Italy, on day one and took fourth overall. He did not have as strong of a showing the following day, finishing fourth in his heat of the Eight Finals. That put him in 25th.
Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio continue making noise in moguls, and both women advanced to the final round on Friday in France. Kauf took sixth with Giaccio finding her way to 16th place.
Jumping with Belshaw in Switzerland was Steamboat’s 100th Olympian Decker Dean. Dean jumped to 47th and 49th over the weekend but made an even more significant contribution with mentoring Belshaw.
It was a comfort for Belshaw to have Dean there supporting him and keeping him calm ahead of his jumps.
“It was awesome having Decker there,” Belshaw said. “He was super supportive and really happy for me. He is someone who was really good to have there because he has been in the top 30 before, and he helped me a lot with that too, so it was awesome having him there.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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