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Lamb at my mothers house.

God påske alle sammen! Happy Easter to everyone. I just love getting together at my mothers house for her lamb. Mostly because I miss seeing my mom but also she makes great lamb and I always get to take home the bone and then I can make some great lamb stew. I learned to love lamb as a child and learned to love making lamb stew as an adult. Best to all.

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Håkon Helgesen flies out over the knoll during a practice session on Friday.

Friday, January 29, was the day for the jumpers to test out the run before the competition. I was given permission to stand at the top of the knoll to get a better sense of what it was like to jump at Norge. From my vantage point I could look up to the top of the “Inrun” – the ramp the jumpers speed down before leaping into their flight – and look down the slope to the K-point – the red line each jumper wants to reach or jump past. I was standing only 10 feet away from the line of flight and I could easily hear the sound of the jumper passing thru the air. In a world where the sounds we hear are accompanied by the sound of mechanical pumps or motors, this was a sound that I had never heard before. It was the sound of air pushing against the jumper as they took flight, a little like a flag or kite in a breeze, but far less violent, or the fast hand movements of a martial arts fighter in some Hollywood movies.

Bob Fisk, Ken Nordan and Don Hogenson participate in the Sunday event.

I asked Håkon Helgesen, one of the jumpers from the Norwegian Team, about the sound. He told me that he does not hear anything when he jumps, not the sound of the crowd, not the sound of the air, not the thud of his skis hitting the ground after flying in the air almost 250 feet on this hill. He did know the sound I heard, a sound that only jumpers and people close to the sport heard and were able to understand.

Landing after one of the longest jump of the day at over 80 meters!

Armchair sportsmen of the 1970’s and 1980’s will never forget the melodramatic beginning to the ABC Sports show. “The Wide World of Sports”, where announcer Jim McKay spoke the catch-phrase “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”, with the dreadful 1970 fall of Slovenian ski jumper Vinko Bogataj playing out before our eyes.

The Norway Team at the Opening Ceremony: (l to r) Håkon Helgesen, Eivind Hugaas, Flag Bearer Ken Nordan, Børge G. Blikeng, Coach Roger Halvorsen

The only time I’ve jumped anything on skis was in a video game. But, I can – to some extent – understand the exhilaration these athletes feel when they fly thru the air when I think back to my days as a Boy Scout riding on the “zip-line” we constructed over a gorge at summer camp. With the image of Bogataj’s fall playing out in my mind, I looked out over the crowd and watched the jumpers speed down the ramp to send their bodies flying out over the knoll. No one fell like Bogataj, some did however make less graceful landings than others. But, regardless of how they landed or how far they flew, each jumper let out a loud scream as they slide to a stop after the jump. And, is if the jumper’s exhilaration had been transferred to the onlookers, the large crowd echoed back with an even bigger scream.

Børge was not feeling well, but gave us a great show in the Longest Standing competition.

Roger and Eivind Reviewing Notes before the Tournament. They both spent a lot of time helping me to understand the sport.

If you did not get a chance to see this tournament, Norge Ski Club has jumpers practicing on a regular basis. Visit their web site for more details. Norge is a year round facility, and the Norwegian jumpers all asked to come back in September 2010 for the fall tournament.

Ken Nordan
Contributing Editor

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