LAKE PLACID — Nina Lussi’s ski jumping career ended in the same place it began.
Lussi, a 28-year-old Lake Placid native, announced her retirement from women’s ski jumping following the conclusion of the two-day International Ski Federation Continental Cup in Lake Placid on March 26. She finished her final competition taking fourth and seventh place. .
“I really wanted to finish on my own terms and most of all I wanted to be healthy and not have to suffer another injury or have a reason that made that decision for me,” Lussi said. “I looked at the schedule and finishing with the North American Continental Cup tour felt really good. Especially having Lake Placid being the last event – jumping in front of family and friends was pretty special.
Lussi started ski jumping at the age of 8. She fell in love with sports. When she started, she said she didn’t dream of making the Olympics. Back then, women’s ski jumping wasn’t even an Olympic sport.
Although women’s ski jumping only became an official Olympic sport at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Lussi never gave up on her passion.
“I was around in 2010 when they tried to take legal action to have women’s ski jumping held in Vancouver and when that failed I really experienced it.” Lussi said. “I was there when they (had) the start of the first world championships. I have to be there throughout this development.
“It’s really, really amazing how far the sport has come since then. Every year there were more and more competitive jumpers and they were jumping bigger hills,” she added. “It’s not as easy to recognize it from the outside, but being indoors and competing over the years, it’s really impressive that women around the world are raising the bar.”
In March 2013, Lussi earned his first career top 10 in the Continental Cup. A year later, she won the Continental Cup in Falun, Sweden.
“If you ask someone who has ever won an international competition, when you hear the national anthem being played and you’re standing on the top of the podium, that’s the best (moment),” Lussi said. “Unfortunately, this only happened to me once.”
Lussi won two national championships in the fall of 2017, in the HS90 and Nordic combined competition in Lake Placid.
Lussi said winning the national championships and finishing first in the Continental Cup were two memories that really stood out in her career.
Months after winning two national championships, Lussi was on the hunt to earn a trip to the 2018 Winter Olympics. But while competing in the United States Olympic Trials in December 2017, Lussi fell during her second jump and suffered a torn ACL, ending her season and her chance to compete in the Olympics.
Lussi was eventually sidelined for 13 months before competing again, and by then he had progressed to the World Cup stage.
At the Olympic trials in Lake Placid in December 2021, Lussi took sixth place in the women’s ski jumping competition and missed out on the chance to go to the 2022 Olympics.
“One of my big goals for this season and my career has been to go to the Olympics. I knew that at the start of this season I wanted to give it my all. Lussi said. “I had a pretty good year, I ended up getting a spot for the USA team for the Olympics, which was great. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that spot.
Despite the past, Lussi has been solid in the last month of her career, showing what a ski jumper she is. Lussi has earned four top-10 finishes in the North American Continental Cup series, including winning a silver medal on March 12 on the same ski jump on which she tore her anterior cruciate ligament. .
Lussi, who graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in business administration, said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next.
She said she would like to stay in the sport in some capacity, but not as a coach. She added that she might be interested in marketing or sports management.
“We’ll see, I can’t even tell you where in the world I want to be” Lussi said. “Ski jumping has been such a big part of my life for a long time, I have to know how things work and how to plan the training and how to lay out the blocks for the year. Looking ahead and not having such a rigid schedule is a bit daunting.