Countdown to the Olympics: Local ski jumpers hope to 'jump' to 2018 games

Local ski jumper Nate Mattoon along with brother Nick Mattoon, expect to shoot for the 2018 Olympic Games.

(WEAU) - All week long, we're counting down to the Olympics on Sunrise. Monday, February 3rd marked only 4 more days until hundreds of athletes will compete against the best in the world.

The Winter Olympics dates back to 1924, and ski jumping has been around since the beginning.WEAU's Courtney Everett talked with one of the oldest ski clubs in the country to see why they're going the distance.

"The air flight is the biggest rush,” says Eau Claire Flying Eagle, Nick Mattoon.

It’s the place where every ski jumper wants to be. That is soaring through the air!

"My dad was with me through it all and he coached me and helped me train to where I am now,” says Eau Claire Flying Eagle Nate Mattoon.

For these brothers, it’s a hobby they live and breathe.

"Every time you have a good jump you know it right off the bat, because your soaring, you're gone. It feels great,” says Nick.

Since they were young, they've been following in their fathers ski steps and now they’re looking to jump their way to the 2018 Olympics.

"I think about it all the time. Whenever I jump bad in a tournament, get down, I mean I just think about farther on like across seas and stuff and I just want to do that, explains Nate.

But it requires a lot of weight training and practice to have that perfect jump.

"What judges look for is if your arms are moving around or by your side or if you're consistent with your air flight and not moving around all too much,” says Nick.

To get a perfect score of 20, skiers must land with one foot in front of the other. Nate says nothing beats the cheers coming from family and friends on tournament day.

"It obviously raises the bar. It makes you want to do better, impress them and stuff so that obviously helps you to jump better,” says Nate.

However, like every sport, injuries can happen.

“I thought over a year they were just shin splints so I kept training on them.” Nick explains, “ Then I got MRI's this past summer and found out I've had two stress fractures and I've had them for awhile and they were close to breaking."

But no matter what, jumping toward the Olympics is never too far from the minds of these brothers.

"I hope in 4 years, because I'll be 19,” says Nate.

"I have a lot of potential coming up, good coaches to lead me to where I need to be and good teammates to lead me along. Hopefully I can learn a lot these next couple years and get ready,” explains Nick.

This year is the first year that women will be competing for gold in ski jumping.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, Sunrise will feature the unique world of curling.


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