The idea of competing on home snow was just too tempting.
That’s what prompted Jason Myslicki, Canada’s participant in nordic combined, to come out of retirement.
“I’ve worked extremely hard and found a new passion for my sport,” Myslicki said. “And now it’s time to let things happen and enjoy the energy of competing at home.”
The 33-year-old retired from the sport after the last Olympics in Torino, Italy, where he finished 41st in both the individual Gundersen and sprint categories. He returned to the nordic combined program in March 2008.
The sport’s set-up has changed for the 2008-2009 season and the 2010 Olympics in order to make it more popular and viewer-friendly.
It now includes two individual events, one of which starts with a normal hill, 90m, jump and the other begins with a large hill, 120m, jump. These are judged using the same rules of regular ski jumping: distance and style.
Participants are then lined up to start a 10km ski pursuit, which is now in a 4 x 2.5km format, based on their placement after the jump. The Gundersen method, in which one point equals four seconds, is used to determine when each skier starts after the leader.
The team event, which hasn’t changed, is a large hill jump followed by a team relay.
Recently, Myslicki finished 30th in the individual normal hill category at the World Cup held in Schonach, Germany on Jan. 23.
However, this Thunder Bay, Ontario native will have plenty of tough competitors to beat in order to move Canada, and himself, up the ranks in the sport.
Felix Gottwald of Austria, the reigning Olympic champion in sprint, and silver medallist in individual, came out of retirement in 2009 and is back in contention for a victory at these games after medaling several times in recent weeks’ World Cup events.
Germany’s Georg Hettich took home the gold medal in individual and the bronze medal in sprint at the last Olympics.
Magnus Moan from Norway won bronze in the individual and silver in sprint in Torino and had a recent World Cup victory in France in January.
Finland’s Anssi Koivuranta is a strong jumper who won seven World Cup events in 2008-2009.
Wesley Savill, a Calgary, Alberta, native who finished 17th overall at the Junior Nordic Combined World Cup last year, is the Canadian alternate for the Olympics.
Despite the tough competition Myslicki will be up against in February, he keeps a positive outlook.
“It’s been a very challenging journey to get to this point,” he told CTVOlympics.ca. “I’m excited to show how that journey has made me a superior athlete.”