Lebanon’s Alexander Returns to Olympics

Ski jumper Nick Alexander in a portrait at Storrs Hill in Lebanon, N.H., on March 27, 2009. (Valley News - Rob Strong)

Ski jumper Nick Alexander in a portrait at Storrs Hill in Lebanon, N.H., on March 27, 2009. (Valley News - Rob Strong)

Park City, Utah — Lebanon ski jumper Nick Alexander is heading back to the Olympics.

Alexander, 25, was one of four men named on Wednesday to the U.S. Olympic ski jumping team set to compete in Sochi, Russia, beginning Feb. 7. He also competed in the 2010 Games in Vancouver, placing 40th in the individual large hill and 41st in the individual normal hill.

The Brattleboro, Vt.-born Alexander will be joined on the U.S. roster by Nick Fairall, of Andover, N.H.; Peter Frenette, of Saranac Lake, N.Y.; and Anders Johnson, of Park City, Utah. Johnson will be participating in his third Olympics; like Alexander, Frenette is headed to his second, while Fairall will be going for the first time after narrowly missing the 2010 roster. Fairall clinched his Sochi invitation last month by winning the U.S. trials in Utah.

“It’s been a very intense and closely contested Olympic trial period, and it literally came down to the last night and the last jump in Sapporo,” said USA Ski Jumping athletic director Alan Johnson in a news release, referring to this week’s FIS Continental Cup competition in Japan.

Alexander is the top-ranked American on the second-tier Continental Cup circuit, sitting in 67th place with just three starts out of the 15 meets to date. He was 25th in Sunday’s event, flying 117 and 106 meters in his two jumps.

“I want to thank EVERYONE that has been supporting me throughout the last 4 years,” Alexander said in a post on his Facebook page on Wednesday. “(I)t means a lot and without your support I would not be going to Sochi!”

Alexander, the son of former Lebanon police chief Jim Alexander, won the U.S. Ski Jumping Championship for the second time last summer in Lake Placid, N.Y., where he attended the National Ski Academy while in high school.

He followed with a disappointing start to the winter season, entering the Continental Cup in Sapparo, Japan last weekend, needing a strong showing to qualify. Alexander finished as the top American — and in the top 25 overall — in three of four large hill events to punch his ticket to Sochi.

“There is a solid amount of experience on this team, considering how young they are,” U.S. head men’s jumping coach Clint Jones said in a news release. “The oldest team member is Nick Alexander, and he’s only (25). Taking all this into consideration, I feel that we still haven’t seen the best jumps from any of our young team members, and I’m looking forward to seeing them step up their game in Sochi and in the years to come.”

The squad will head to the Olympic jumps in Whistler, British Columbia, for a training camp from Sunday through Jan. 31 before traveling to Sochi.

Dartmouth Adds to Nordic Team

Park City, Utah — Dartmouth College graduates Sophie Caldwell and Ida Sargent were among 14 athletes named to the nation’s Nordic ski team for the Sochi Olympics by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association on Wednesday.

The Vermont natives — Sargent is from Orleans, Caldwell from Peru — will both be participating in their first Olympics.

Sargent skied at Dartmouth for three years, helping the Big Green to back-to-back undefeated carnival seasons in 2009 and 2010 before leaving to join the U.S. program. Caldwell graduated last year and debuted on the FIS World Cup tour after a collegiate career that included five All-America recognitions and two podiums at the NCAA championships.

Seven of the Americans chosen for the team have previous Olympic experience.