Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sports

Winter Olympics: Loomis, USA finish 10th in Nordic combined

Eau Claire native wraps up his first Olympic experience

  • Pyeongchang-Olympics-Nordic-Combined-Men

    Ben Loomis, of the United States, jumps during the nordic combined team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

    AP

Ben Loomis has completed his first Olympic Games mission.

The first, yes. And with the experience gained, the 19-year-old Flying Eagle is looking ahead to many more.

“It’s been pretty amazing,” Loomis said by phone from South Korea. “I’m proud to be here and honored to take part in the competitions. I guess it will take more time to reflect on it all.”

Loomis skied Thursday on the U.S. team that finished 10th in Nordic combined team competition at Pyeongchang in the final of three combined events.

He had a large-hill jump of 111½ meters (366 feet), third-best among the Americans, and then came back with a strong 5K cross-country run of 11 minutes, 51.3 seconds, second-best for the U.S. in competition with the best in the world.

“The jumping was tough, but I’m making progress and that’s all I can ask,” he said. “And the race went really good.”

Bryan Fletcher, the team leader who finished a team-best 17th in both individual events earlier, had a jump of 129½ meters (425 feet) and followed with a third-best race of 12:01.2.

Taylor Fletcher had the best cross-country time of 11:38.7 but that followed a short 100-meter (328 foot) jump. Ben Berend had a 120-meter jump (394 feet) but the slowest cross country time of 12:42.3. All three of Loomis’ teammates hail from Steamboat Springs, Colo. As a team, the U.S. finished 5:16.7 behind the winning German team, but only 1.7 seconds out of ninth and 11.6 out of eighth.

“Despite our finish, I think the team felt it was a decent day and was satisfied,” Loomis said.

Germany finished second to Austria in the jump but pulled away in the cross-country run to beat runner-up Norway by a solid 52.7 seconds. Austria was third, 1:07.8 behind, while Japan and France rounded out the top five.

Loomis, who won a bronze medal and narrowly missed out on a second in the World Nordic Junior Championships two weeks ago in Switzerland, finished 41st in individual normal hill/​10K event and 40th in the large hill/​10K earlier.

“I learned a lot — how to relax and better prepare,” he said. “I can take that to the next Olympics with less stress.”

Loomis said he plans to watch some of the remaining cross country events before flying to Finland next week to take part in World Cup events there and in Norway before the end of the season.


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