Ski jumpers begin qualifier to open the Olympics

Though the Olympic flame has yet to be lit, the Games have already begun.

The preliminary round of the individual normal hill men’s ski jumping got under way on Friday afternoon at Whistler Olympic Park.

Fifty competitors participated to qualify for the medal round scheduled for Saturday morning. From that initial group 40 competitors qualified for the next round, where they will meet the world ranked top ten.

Unfortunately of the 10 competitors left out of the qualification round were the four Canadian hopefuls.

Amongst them was the youngest competitor in the Olympic Games, 17-year-old Eric Mitchell, who scored 98.5 total points. Toronto’s Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes led the team with 105.0 total points, while Alberta natives Trevor Morrice and Stefan Read finished with 103.5 and 103.0.

Leading the qualifying group was Germany’s Michael Uhrmann who finished with a score of 138.5 points. He was followed by Jakub Janda of the Czech Republic who narrowly beat out another German, Michael Neumayer, scoring 135.5 and 135.0 total points respectively.

It was Uhrmann, the last competitor to jump, who would impress not only with his distance but also with his technique. He leads a strong German team with hopes of displacing the Austrian and Norwegian favourites.