After a disappointing first day on the jump hill I was ready to get back to jumping how I know I can. But, sometimes jumping does not work like that. It's a very challenging sport that requires focus, confidence, strength, balance, fortitude, and sometimes luck. For what could be a multitude of reasons, I could not put together a great jump when it came to the competition. Mentally it felt like I started the week with a completed puzzle and someone came along, decided to scramble the whole thing up, and lost some of the pieces. Sometimes that's just how it goes in this crazy sport. 

Fortunately Nordic Combined is a combination of two sports, ski jumping and cross country skiing. The latter being a great outlet for frustration. Saturday was the individual 5k event. After jumping to 39th place I was ready to lay the hammer down in the pouring rain and slush. I skied one of my best races ever and finished 30th, turning in the 25th fastest time of the day. This was also my first top 30 finish in an international event, so although it was not what I know I'm capable of I was pleased. 

The next day was the was the 4 X 5km team event with Erik Lynch, Jasper Good, Ben Berend, and myself. It continued to spit rain but that didn't stop team USA from stepping it up on the jump hill. Everyone had their best jumps of the week with Ben Berend throwing down a 96.5 meter jump, putting us in 6th place. The cross country portion was difficult for all of us and we slipped to 9th place. 

Although this was a tough week for me it has been a great learning experience. Performance wise I am not where I want to be at, but it's truly all about the journey. I look forward to the challenges of becoming a better athlete and enjoying every moment. Italy was great, not only for the killer ravioli and pizza I was able to enjoy, but also for the valuable competition experience. There is a lot that goes into making it possible for athletes like myself to compete overseas. It takes a village to raise an athlete. My village is the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, my family, countless supporters around the country, and the NNF. You guys make this journey all possible. Thank you!
Thank you Romina Eggert for the awesome jumping pictures!

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