Winter Games Athletes
Securing his spot by winning the Olympic trials, Fairall is headed to Sochi after just missing out on making it to the Vancouver Games in 2010, but he faces a tough task in making it to the podium. The highest-ranked U.S. man in the World Cup standings at 66th, he'll be competing with the top European jumpers who dominate the sport at the international level. A U.S. men’s ski jumper hasn’t won a World Cup medal since 1991 or placed in the top 10 of an Olympic event since 1988. "I've been dreaming for a long time to go to the Olympics and now I'm glad in my first Olympic trials to be able to do this," Fairall said. "It's really exciting." Fairall earned his first national title by winning the large hill national championships in August, and he fended off Anders Johnson with two strong jumps of more than 96 meters at the Olympic trials. "Nick has probably made the most improvements over the past year," USA Ski Jumping athletic director Alan Johnson told his federation's official website. "He has developed a good level of consistency." Fairall's highest finish in World Cup competition this season was 26th on Nov. 28. He started jumping at age 6 after watching his sister take part in the sport.