Lindsey Van Wins Historical World Championship Gold

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 20, 2009 6:45 am

Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) made history today when she became the first woman to ever win World Championship gold in Nordic Jumping, in Liberec, Czech Republic. Van’s massive second jump (97.5 meters) launched her ahead of first-round leader Ulrike Graessler, of Germany, giving her the win, 243.0 to 239.0.

Not to be confused with another first lady of skiing, Lindsey Vonn, Van’s win (like that of her similarly named counterpart) holds more than one historical mark: Hers is the first gold medal ever attained in ski jumping by the U.S.

"This is for all the women who have been pushing the sport over the last 10 years and all the women who really did well today. They deserve this too," Van said. "It’s the high point of my career. I am happy all my hard work over the years has paid off, especially in the last year."

Even though Van made launching into history look like a cakewalk, her win didn’t come easily. Tricky weather (driving wind and snow) during the trial round took its toll, and Van only jumped 63 meters. Then, an 89-meter jump slotted her into fourth place during the first official round. 

"It was snowy and windy and really hard to get the speed on the track that we needed. My skis were slow and the wind was all over the place, but I definitely had better wind on the second jump, which helped me," Van said. "The conditions haven’t been ideal, but that’s ski jumping and that’s how it goes."

Van’s teammate, Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) slated a top-ten performance, finishing sixth. Alissa Johnson and Sarah Hendrickson (also Park City, UT) were 20th and 29th respectively.

Now the ladies can relax a bit and enjoy the rest of the FIS Nordic World Championships, yet Van hopes her win will initiate a legacy. “I think it’s a step in the right direction for the sport," Van said.

Photo Courtesy: FIS


Liberec, Czech Republic

Feb. 20, 2009

Women’s Normal Hill

1. Lindsey Van, Park City, UT, (89.5 – 97.5) 243.0

2. Ulrike Graessler, Germany, (89.5 – 93.0) 239.0

3. Anette Sagen, Norway, (90.3 – 94.0) 238.5

4. Daniela Iraschko, Austria, (90.2 – 91.0) 228.0

5. Coline Mattel, France, (90.1 – 87.5) 220.5

6. Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT, (89.5 – 91.0) 207.0

20. Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT, (88.3 – 62.5) 131.0

29. Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT, (87.7 – 69.5) 110.5

photo: USSA