United States

2 More Local Athletes Named to Olympic Ski Jumping Team

In its history, the Norge Ski Club has never had an athlete make an Olympic team – until this year

Three of four members named to the U.S. Men's Olympic Ski Jumping team are from the Chicago area, an historic feat for a suburban club. 

Both Kevin Bickner, of Wauconda, and Casey Larson, of Barrington, will be joining Cary's Michael Glasder in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Glasder, 28, was already named to the U.S. team when he won the United States ski jumping trials in Utah following two failed attempts to make an Olympic team. The additions of Bickner and Larson were made this week.  

All three are part of the Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove. 

"It was about 8 years of pent up, keeping it in," said Glasder's father Steve Glasder. "I'm just so happy for my son." 

In its 113-year history, the Norge Ski Club has never had an athlete make an Olympic team – until this year. 

Bickner, 21, Larson, 19, of Barrington and A.J. Brown, 22, of Fox River Grove were all vying for Olympic spots. 

“It is really exciting. It gives me goosebumps,” said Guy Larson, who is on the Board of Directors for the Norge Ski Club. He is also the father of Larson. 

Glasder, Bickner and Larson all grew up jumping on the 5-meter hill at Norge Ski Club, eventually making their way up to the largest 70-meter hill. 

“You think of that journey when they came out here when they were five or six years old to where they are today. It’s been an incredible journey," Guy Larson said. 

Larson was just 8 years old when he tackled the 70-meter hill. 

"It was a month of where he'd walk up with his skis and his goggles would start fogging up and he'd say, 'Not today, not today," said Guy Larson. 

For each athlete, the dedication to the sport meant traveling to foreign countries while balancing high school. In Bickner's case, it meant a move away from family to train full-time in Utah. 

"They pretty much didn't live with him after he was 16 years old, which was really hard for them," said Bickner's Aunt Tanora Schreiner. 

She said Bickner’s immediate family eventually made the move to Park City.

But for the athletes, an Olympic moment makes it all worth it. 

"It's such a prestigious event and something that not a lot of people get to experience," Bickner said. "I'm just really excited to get there."

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