Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sports

Legacy left: Flying Eagle great Loomis announces retirement

  • sk-Loomis-03a-111015

    Adam Loomis conducts a clinic for young cross country skiers and ski jumpers on Nov. 7, 2015 at Tower Ridge Recreational Area. Loomis, now 26, recently retired from Nordic combined skiing.

    Staff file photo

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    PARK CITY, UT - DECEMBER 30: Adam Loomis #2 and Bryan Fletcher #5 compete in the cross country competiton during the U.S. Nordic Combined Olympic Trials on December 30, 2017 at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    Matthew Stockman

As a Nordic combined skier, Adam Loomis was always able to race with the best in the world.

That wasn’t a problem. But his jumping was.

In the combined, one jump sets the placing for the cross country start. The best jumpers obviously start first with those farther back facing a tough struggle to move up among the leaders.

Loomis failed to achieve consistent jumping. It cost him a spot in two U.S. Olympic games and during his World Cup career.

The crowning blow came this winter when Loomis, although ranking among the best on the U.S. Team for six years, failed to qualify for the Olympics in South Korea due to qualifying technicalities although five Americans were chosen.

Over the weekend, Loomis, who carried the Flying Eagles banner around the world in proud fashion, announced his retirement from the U.S. team and high-level competition on his personal blog.

“I want to be clear that I’m leaving this sport without an inkling of bitterness,” he wrote. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished as an athlete, and even more grateful for the way this sport has shaped who I am.”

Loomis, 26, made 30 World Cup starts and participated in four World Championships. He skied at Lathi, Finland and Falun, Sweden and placed a respectable 33rd in the 2017 event.

His resume shows many more achievements. In 2012, he placed 12th in the World Junior Championships in Turkey and later took a fifth in Continental Cup competition. He took a 21st in World Cup in France in 2015 and had an overall world ranking of 55th that year. During the past season, he scored World Cup points, taking 24th in Japan.

He always ranked among the top five Americans in domestic competition and in Olympic tryouts at Park City during the Christmas holidays just last December, passed younger brother Ben and took second to U.S. leader Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, Colo. It didn’t help.

His bugaboo was the jump.

“I’ve struggled to reach my jumping goals for years. But right now, to believe that his will change next year, or the year after, is beyond my ability. Moreover, I’m realizing that ski jumping is so often such a challenge for me that it’s often not fun, even in training.”

That’s despite some outstanding performances. As a 15-year old in 2008, Loomis won the Junior Nationals at Ishpeming, Mich. Only a year ago in a final competition at the Vancouver Olympic jump in Canada, he turned in super long jumps and won, finishing ahead of Canada’s World Cup jumper Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to carry that performance over. He holds a distance PR of 135 meters — or 443 feet — set at Obertsdorf, Germany.

“It has been an amazing 15 years of an athlete’s life for me with ups and downs that the ultimate winter sport can offer. I was able to travel the world, make some friends and experience things that many people only dream of.”

Loomis took to the snow as a youngster. He grew up as a Memorial High School student and joined the Flying Eagles at age 10 and his work ethic and performance destined him for U.S. Team material. He spent two years training at Steamboat and joined the national team in 2012 and has lived in Park City since. He recently completed his undergraduate degree on-line in business administration.

One of his greatest accomplishments was leading the way for brother Ben, who did ski in the Olympics in February.

Loomis thanked all those who had supported him through the years.

“One thing is for sure,” he wrote, “I haven’t lost my love for staying active. If you want to find me, as much now as ever, look for the mountains.”


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