Summit County local cracks top-30 at Tele World Championship |

Summit County local cracks top-30 at Tele World Championship

The three words Tommy Gogolen used to describe his feelings entering Saturday’s second and final run in the Sprint Classic: nerves, nerves and more nerves.

The Summit County local had just nailed his first run of the race – the final race of the Telemark Ski World Championships in Rjukan, Norway.

He stood at the top of the hill in 25th place; he stood just one run away from accomplishing his week-long goal, a goal many may have felt was above his head considering he only picked up the sport three short years ago.

He wanted to finish in the top half of the field in one of the week’s races.

After that first run: piece of cake. All he had to do was navigate a tight, technical giant slalom course, avoid penalties on the jump, work a smooth transition on the banked turn (a reipeløkke) and then skate ski his way to the finish. Oh, and the event is broadcast live throughout Europe; one of the races brought in more than 600,000 viewers.

Again, the word to describe Gogolen’s feelings: nerves.

“I tried not to let any doubt or insecurity creep into my head,” he said.

And by the time he crossed the finish line a couple minor penalties and a strong skate section later, he looked up at himself, clad in his purple and yellow suit, on the jumbotron and saw his place – 28th.

As for his feelings?

“Thankful,” he said.

It was the first time the 29-year-old, who coaches three sports at Summit High, competed in the World Championships, and really, he’s still very new to the sport having competed in just a handful of races since picking it up three seasons ago.

Now, he knows he can hang with the best in the world, skiers from other countries that focus and train for telemark racing year-round.

He also just barely topped fellow Summit County skier Drew Hauser with his finish. Hauser, the 2009 World Junior and U.S. national champion, finished in 32nd. Hauser’s a student at the University of Nevada in Reno and doesn’t race or train as much as many of his fellow national team members.

Gogolen has said his ultimate goal is to join Hauser on Team USA.

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