Steamboat’s Dean leads trio of American men through large hill qualifications |

Steamboat’s Dean leads trio of American men through large hill qualifications

From left, U.S. men's ski jumpers Patrick Gasienica, Decker Dean, Casey Larson and Kevin Bickner pose at the Zhangjiakou National Ski Jumping Centre at the 2022 Olympics.
USA Nordic/Courtesy photo

Steamboat Springs ski jumper Decker Dean finished 38th in the Olympic men’s large hill qualifier on Friday, Feb. 11, leading a trio of American jumpers into the first round of competition.

Dean, 21, jumped 112 meters and earned a score of 94.9, good for 38th place.

He had the best result of the four men from the United States, followed by Casey Larson in 43rd and Kevin Bickner in 45th.

Patrick Gasienica took 53rd, so he won’t advance with the top 50 into the first round of competition, scheduled for 4 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. The top 30 after that jump will move on to the finals, which will begin at 5 a.m.

Dean is historically better at large hills and has been looking forward to jumping on the HS140 at the Zhangjiakou National Ski Jumping Centre since arriving at the 2022 Olympics.

“A goal of mine with the smaller hills is to learn and try to figure them out, but I’ve always been much better on larger hills,” he said. “I just think, the way I jump is catered to flying, being one of the smaller guys and just the way I jump. I jump pretty aggressively.”

Dean admits that his youth equates to inexperience compared to many other jumpers and his mistakes are masked on a large hill. Whereas normal hills, like the HS106 at the Olympics, are less forgiving.

Dean finished 44th on the normal hill, and Larson had the best finish in 39th. All three Americans moving on in the large hill hope to improve on those results.

Dean’s best results on the World Cup have come on large hills and in ski flying, which he attempted for the first time last winter. Dean took 51st in the ski flying World Cup event on an HS240 in Planica, Slovenia, last February.

The young jumper earned the first World Cup points of his career in a pair of large hill events in Germany just days before traveling to Beijing.

Marius Lindvik of Norway was the top finisher in the qualifier, earning 136.4 points off a 135-meter jump.

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