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Guest opinion: Women take to the air

Back in the 1950s and '60s, Dorothy Graves of New York would travel to ski jump meets with Olympians Art Tokle and Art Devlin of New York ski clubs and enjoyed flying into the frosty air most every winter weekend. She never showed any fear as she climbed up the 60- and 70-meter jumps and let air pressure lower her slowly to the landing hill below.

Duluth trained twin sisters - The Grady girls - who enjoyed all the jumps in Duluth, Cloquet and the Twin Cities. Heidi Hilton skied Cloquet with ease, and Ishpeming, Mich., promoted a few girls to championship status in recent years.

Now women worldwide have made up national teams that are competing throughout the ski jumping world and will be showing their talent in the 2014 Olympics that will be held in Russia. Just last year a young lady took the first flight off a newly constructed jump in Oslo, Norway, and landed safely at 330 feet. She received a great deal of applause and it was well earned and deserved.

Maybe this winter they will try their abilities on the mountainside of Planica, Yugoslavia, where the world record stands at 806 feet, or the one being built in Norway that is designed to exceed the record at Planica in the near future.

Their lighter body weight is probably all they need to set a new world record. So, good luck ladies. We wish you well and hope you all have safe landings throughout your career.

Cloquet resident Joe Nowak is a former ski coach at Cloquet High School and was the main force behind creating Cloquet's Pine Valley facilities. He retired from his high school coaching career in 1984, though he continued to coach jumpers in the Cloquet Ski Club, which he formed in 1962. He was inducted into the Minnesota Ski Coaches' Hall of Fame in 1978.