Paul Smith’s student heads to Beijing

Aidan Ripp to compete in pre-Olympic Nordic event

Paul Smith’s Aidan Ripp trains at the Paul Smith’s College Nordic trail network. (Provided photo — Matt Dougherty)

Aidan Ripp, a student-athlete at Paul Smith’s College, is currently headed to the Beijing Winter Olympic site to compete in the Continental Cup in Nordic Combined this weekend. The events are sanctioned by the International Ski Federation.

Ripp, 20, of Cloquet, Minnesota, is a sophomore at Paul Smith’s and is a 4.0 student in biology. He will represent USA Nordic at events that will serve as the official pre-Olympic test of the Beijing venue in Zhangjiakou, China. Nordic combined brings ski jumping and cross-country skiing into one event.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to get to travel to the new Olympic venue in China and compete in the pre-Olympic Continental Cup event,” Ripp said in a statement. “It will be a great experience getting to use the new big hill and compete again after such a long break due to COVID. I am excited to be representing USA Nordic and Paul Smith’s College.”

For Ripp, whose current U.S. rank is just outside the needed status for the Olympic trials in Lake Placid later this month, it’s a chance to improve his standing and compete in those trials which will award nominations for February’s Olympic Games.

Ripp’s journey to China began Tuesday when he secured a visa in Manhattan, followed by COVID testing and flights from New York City to Frankfurt then to Beijing.

“I am so excited for Aidan to get this chance to compete,” PSC Nordic ski coach Matt Dougherty said in a statement. “After nearly two years of training without any competitions, this day has been much anticipated for a long time. Aidan has been diligently doing the work to be ready for this day not knowing when it would come and I am just extremely happy that he gets to finally compete. Not only that but getting to be one of the first athletes to compete on the new Olympic venue is a special experience.”

In recent years, Ripp has participated in the Continental Cup and the Junior World Championships. As the first USA Nordic athlete to enroll at PSC, he trains on campus at the E. Philip Saunders Nordic and Biathlon Venue, as well as Lake Placid’s ski jumping complex.

The school is the Official East Coast Training Center for USA Nordic and US Biathlon, part of PSC’s emerging sport and education initiative. Both sports benefit from a world-class ski network, while biathletes can hone their shooting skills at the only biathlon range on a college campus in the United States.

In addition to potentially putting himself in the Olympic mix for a 2022 berth, Ripp will be a PSC student at the time of the World University Games 13 months from now in Lake Placid. Unfortunately, two PSC biathletes, Dolcie Tanguay and Diego Schillaci, will have that experience taken away as a result of the omicron variant that caused the cancellation of this year’s World University Games.


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