Jon Olsson got his first World Cup start last weekend at Val d’Isere, France. Obviously a lofty accomplishment for anyone, Jon has managed to get to competition level despite the fact that he trains, “maybe 30 percent less than other world class alpine racers”, according to his coach Guenther Birgmann. Jon is really reaching for the stars this time, hoping to make the 2014 Winter Olympics with the Swedish alpine ski team. After this weekend the goal doesn’t seem so far-fetched. After working tirelessly in the Europa Cup (World Cup ski racing’s minor leagues), Jon ended up being Sweden’s third highest ranked athlete in giant slalom and earning himself a coveted World Cup start.
Olsson started in position 53 at Val d’Isere, and needed to finish in the top 30 in order to qualify for the next run. At the first split-time recording he was in 39th place, and by the last split had moved up to 27th place. Then, according to Jon, “Coming into the last few gates my legs were done and I did everything I could to hang on, but seven gates from the finish I made a mistake and got thrown on my inside ski and the day was over.” Jon may not have finished the run but to even get the start was a massive accomplishment and to have been in 27th place at the last split proves that he has what it takes to be a real competitor in GS. We at The Ski Channel wish Jon the best of luck and will be eagerly awaiting the results as he continues his drive for the 2014 Winter Olympics.