Small Illinois town launches 3 ski jumpers into Winter Olympics

Ski jump town in the spotlight
Ski jump town in the spotlight 02:31

FOX RIVER GROVE, Ill. -- On a sloping bank of the Fox River, an imposing structure rises from the flat Midwestern plain, setting the town of Fox River Grove apart from its neighbors.

Scott Smith is a ski jumping coach and president of the Norge Ski Club, founded in 1905 by some Norwegian immigrants who must have wanted to spice up Chicago winters. They built a ski jump, and the jumpers came.

Fox River Grove, Il. is home to the Norge Ski Club CBS News

The club's annual competition was held this past weekend, and thousands of fans showed up. Fritz Gohl was one of them.  

"This is one of the biggest crowds i've seen in maybe the last 20 years," he said.

There's more interest than usual in the jumpers now, because the little Norge Ski Club is for the first time sending not one but three homegrown contestants to the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Kevin Bickner, Casey Larson and Mike Glasder are heading to the Olympics CBS News

Kevin Bickner, Casey Larson and Mike Glasder are making Smith's dream come true, and others could follow in their footsteps in the near future. 

Hunter Gibson has been jumping since he was 5. Now, he's 16 years old and pointing toward a future Olympics.

"Not many people can say they can fly through the air on a pair of skis going 60 miles per hour, you know," Gibson said. "It does help if you have a little daredevil-ish in you."

It sure does.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.