Steamboat skiers compete in first Nordic combined mixed team event
Three Steamboat Springs skiers took part in the first-ever Nordic combined mixed team event in Val di Fiemme, Italy, last weekend. Steamboat’s own Taylor Fletcher, Alexa Brabec and Annika Malacinski combined with Jared Shumate from Park City, Utah, to finish sixth among eight teams.
The mixed team event features two men and two women who jump first, then race 5-kilometers each in a relay in the order male, female, female, male.
After the jumping round, the United States was eighth with a score of 92.3. Norway led with a 122.6, putting the first American skier 2 minutes and one second behind the first Norway skier.
The Americans passed Russia and stayed ahead of Slovenia, who slipped backward in the standings as Italy sped ahead.
Brabec hasn’t been competing on the World Cup all season, making her 2022 debut in the women’s mass start normal hill Saturday, Jan. 8. The 17-year-old skied to 12th among 24 athletes. She jumped 73.5 meters, which put her in 20th overall, a career-best finish.
Malacinski, who has been on the circuit all winter, earned 15th Saturday.
Ben Loomis, of Park City, led the men on Saturday with a 12th place finish, making a strong case to earn one of the four remaining Olympic spots. Shumate was 25th, and Fletcher, who won the Olympic qualifier back on Christmas Day to secure a bid to the Olympics, earned 30th.
On Sunday, Jan. 9, the men competed, again. Loomis was the best jumper but didn’t finish the cross-country race. Shumate was the highest American finisher in 26th. Fletcher earned 36th.
The Olympic qualification period wraps up Sunday, Jan. 16. The final roster for Team USA will be announced in the next week.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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