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John Balfanz

Hall of Fame Class of 1980

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John Balfanz was one of the best ski jumpers to ever come out of the American program and in his career, set two North American distance records and won all eight of the tryouts for the 1962 F.I.S. Jumping Team which competed at Zakopane, Poland.

John Balfanz, born June 23, 1940 in Minneapolis, Minnesota was introduced to the sport of ski jumping at the age of six. He won his first competition in an age group at the age of seven.

John competed for the Minneapolis Ski Club in the Central Division of USSA from that time until his retirement from the sport following a serious injury just after the 1968 Winter Olympics.

The following is a brief chronological history of his ski jumping accomplishments:

• 1956 1st place CUSSA Ski Jumping Championships
• 1957 U.S. Army – no competition
• 1962 1st place all 8 of the Tryout Jumping Tournament for F.I.S. Jumping Team, Zakopane, Poland Set new North American Ski Jumping distance record of 323 feet at Westby, Wisconsin
7th in F.I.S. sanctioned Jumping Meet at Lahti, Finland
• 1963 2nd Holmenkollen Ski Jumping Festival
3rd Bischofshoven, Austria (German-Austria Springer Tournament)
5th Innsbruck, Austria
6th Garmisch, Germany
7th Obersdorf, Germany
4th Overall

In 1963 John competed in 17 major international competitions throughout Europe, winning two of these events. He established new distance records on three European jumping hills. Of the 17 competitions entered, John placed no lower than 7th.

Placing 2nd in the Holmenkollen was the highlight of his outstanding year.

• 1964 1st ALL U.S. Olympic Tryout Jumping Competition
Member of U.S. Olympic Team, Innsbruck, Austria
10th Olympic 70 Meter Ski Jumping Competition
1st 90 Meter F.I.S. Competition, Garmisch, Germany
1st 90 Meter F.I.S. Competition LaBrasus, Switzerland
1st USSA Jumping Championships
1st North American Jumping Championships

John C. Balfanz was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1980.

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