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Ski-jumper Alborn reaches milestone with Cup victory

SHARE Ski-jumper Alborn reaches milestone with Cup victory

UTAH OLYMPIC PARK — Alan Alborn became the first American to win three consecutive Continental Cup ski jumping competitions with his victory here Saturday.

Alborn posted the day's longest jumps of 127.5 and 131.5 meters during the two-round contest on the Park's K120 hill. His longest jump tied his own summer hill record set last year. The soft-spoken Alaskan arrived in Utah last week following a pair of Cup wins in Calgary, Canada. Utah's Continental Cup stop concludes with another go at the K120 hill Sunday.

Alborn credits much of his recent success to strong coaching and a summer training regimen that polished his technique and dramatically increased his strength. Much of his summer was also spent gaining confidence on the Utah Olympic Park hills.

"You get used to the hills and the conditions," he said.

Alborn will not make another trip to the Utah Olympic Park podium Sunday. Instead, he'll be flying to Japan to compete in the summer Grand-Prix circuit with ski jumping's global elite. Continental Cup competition is considered the sport's "triple-A" league. His recent Continental success — combined with respectable finishes in Grand-Prix events earlier this year — has beefed-up his confidence against ski jumping's heavyweights.

"I've competed with them earlier this summer, and I was right in there with them, so hopefully I can break past them in these (upcoming) competitions," Alborn said.

Austria's Martin Koch finished second Saturday with jumps of 125 and 124.5 meters, while Robert Kranjec of Slovenia placed third. Two other Americans — Brendan Doran and Clint Jones, both of Colorado — also earned top-10 finishes in the 52-man, eight-nation field.

Alborn's victory Saturday also earned him the newly-created Ecker Hill Trophy. The trophy was awarded in conjunction with Saturday's dedication of the Historic Ecker Hill Monument recognizing Ecker Hill's pivotal role in Utah's early skiing history.


E-mail: jswensen@desnews.com