John C. Balfanz - Sport Builder - 1989

John won his first ski jumping competition at the age of seven, and at age fifteen he was the Junior Central Champion.From 1957 to 1959, John served in the US Army, first at Ft. Carson, Colorado, and then Karlsrue, Germany.  His discharge in 1959 was too late to allow him to compete in the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics, but he resumed training and became a member of the 1962 FIS World team.In 1963, John was ranked second in the world by the FIS in special ski jumping and competed in 17 international meets in Europe, winning two and never placing lower than seventh.  John set records during that year which still stand among American ski jumpers;  his hill record was set on the famous Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway.John moved to Colorado in 1964 and was a member of the 1964 Olympic Team which competed in Innsbruck, Austria.  He won the 90 meter competitions in LaBrasses, Switzerland and Garmish, Germany, as well as the United States National and North American Championships.  His personal best distance was 427 feet in Obersdorf, Germany.From 1965 through the Olympic year of 1968, he remained a member of the US Ski Team, competing in the 70 and 90 meter Special Jumping category at Grenoble, France.  He set a North American distance record of 325 feet at Iron Mountain, Michigan in 1965 and won all US Ski Team tryouts in 1966 and 1968.John retired from competition, having compiled the best international record of any American ski jumper in history.  (Deceased)