Fox River Grove ski jumping club could fill 3 of 4 spots on men's Olympic team

FOX RIVER GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- The Winter Olympics are just around the corner and Chicago will be well-represented in a sport that is not common in the flat Midwest: ski jumping.

As many of three of the four slots on the men's team may go to members of the Norge Ski Club. Proud parents of the hopefuls gathered with their coach in Fox River Grove to consider how far they've come.

"That is a testament to what we do. Norge gets in your veins. We have families that don't have jumpers anymore and they still come here," said Kathy Glasder, mother of Michael Glasder.

Michael Glasder won the U.S. Olympic trials on New Year's Eve. He's a lock for PyeongChang.

"It is not where you start, it is where you finish that counts. The only advice that I have given our three sons is 'don't ever allow yourself to be outworked,'" said Steve Glasder, Michael's father.

On Thursday, USA Nordic is expected to confirm Kevin Bickner -- who set the North American jumping record of 244.5 meters earlier this season in Norway -- will get a spot along with Casey Larson.

"I think it really says something about the club - I'm going to get emotional - that three people are going from this club," parent Maureen Bickner said.

The family vibe in the chalet underscores just how much ski jumping is a family affair. Maureen's daughter, Kailey Bickner, has joined her brother living and training for the sport full-time in Utah.

When asked what it will take to win the gold medal, Bickner replied: "Just working hard and keep doing what I am doing and improving."

Casey Larson is the third likely Olympian from Norge. His proud parents hope their success spurs interest the sport.

"They don't start on the big hill. It's trusting in the coaches," said Meg Larson, Casey's mother.

With success comes imitation, and these families want you to know the sport is open to anyone - the younger the better. And you don't even have to know how to ski!
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.