Last month, 24-year-old Andover resident Nick Fairall claimed his first Olympic berth with a pair of 96-meter jumps in the United States Ski Jumping Trials at Utah Olympic Park in Park City. It earned Fairall a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, which will compete in Sochi, Russia, next month.
His accomplishments allowed him to capture the Apple Therapy Services/Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center New Hampshire Union Leader Athlete of the Month honors for December. Fairall will be honored at the New Hampshire Union Leader’s annual sports banquet, The Leaders: A Celebration of New Hampshire Sports Champions on Feb. 9 at the Radisson.
The event starts at noon and tickets are $30 each and $225 for a table of eight.
One can call 206-7834 for more information or make their check payable to the New Hampshire Union Leader and mail it to: Union Leader Community Relations, P.O. Box 9555, Manchester, N.H. 03108. Deadline for tickets is Feb. 1.
Fairall’s distance and technique on the jumps earned him 253.5 points, giving him a 4.5-point edge over runner-up Anders Johnson, a Park City resident and two-time Olympian. The first-place finish also gave Fairall two national titles in 2013, following his victory in the United States Large Hill Nationals last summer, also at Olympic Park.
On Monday, Fairall told the New Hampshire Union Leader his focus now is to perform well in Russia.
“I’m focusing on techniques and working on little details which I think can make a difference in the Olympics,” said Fairall. “To represent my country is very exciting for me. As for our team, I know many outside sources feel we’re an underdog, but we like it that way. It takes the pressure off and makes us more determined to strive for the medals.”
Fairall, who graduated from Proctor Academy, said he’s planning on making a few trips to the Olympics over the next decade.
“This is just the start for me, by no means the end,” said Fairall. “I just want to start my experience in the Olympics with a good showing.”
The New Hampshire Union Leader Board of Judges selected Fairall unanimously for the December award. He received 45 points getting all nine first-place votes.
Placing second with 31 ballot points was diver Jessica Parratto of Dover and basketball player Yordy Tavarez of Nashua, with 21 points, placed third in the balloting.
An Indiana University freshman, Parratto won gold and bronze in the USA Diving Winter National Championships at the Jamail Texas Swimming and Diving Center in Austin on the weekend of Dec. 21-22.
A senior point guard for Nashua High South, Tavarez scored at least 23 points in each of his team’s December games.
He opened the season with 25 points against Spaulding of Rochester, totaled 28 against Pinkerton Academy of Derry and had a career-high 32 points as South beat Alvirne of Hudson in the championship game of Nashua’s Chick-fil-A Holiday Basketball Tournament.
Previous 2013 winners: January — Sean Doherty, Conway, biathlon; February — Drew Ledwith, Keene, swimming; March — Kaleb Tarczewski, Claremont, basketball; April — Mariah Crisp, Greenland, softball, and Eric Jensen, Gorham, baseball; May — Carson Cross, Brentwood, baseball; June — Rick Holt, football and baseball, Portsmouth. July — Eva Fabian, swimming, Keene. August — Chelso Barrett, golf, Surrey. September — Jesiah Wade, football, Manchester. October — Emily Cousins, cross country, Hopkinton. November — Robbie Law, football, Concord.