Sarah Hendrickson has made headlines as she notches her first World Cup win of the season this past Saturday!
Hopefully this is just a preview of what's to come for Sarah as the season progresses.
Hendrickson won the first FIS Ski Jumping World Cup on the Olympic jumps in Krasnaya Polyana outside Sochi. The first round leader, Hendrickson's 103.0 meter second ride was a meter shorter than Japan's Sara Takanashi. However, the American outpointed her on style to take the win 264.2 to 258.0! It was the first World Cup competition held on the jumps. Women ski jumpers will make their Olympic debut in Sochi. It was Hendrickson's first win of the season after finishing second to Takanashi two weeks ago in Lillehammer, Norway. The women got another shot at the Sochi jump yesterday (Sunday).
Following her win, Sarah had this to say: “It was very exciting to win my first World Cup of the season. My official training wasn't really good and so I didn't know what to expect going into Saturday's competition. For me, it's more of a mental competition becaus
e it was a new hill and I was looking ahead at the Olympic Games because we were in that venue. I just had to put all that aside and put together two good jumps. Obviously I was very excited and happy.”
On Sunday, Hendrickson and U.S. teammates Lindsey Van and Abby Hughes all finished in the Top 9–a great show of depth for the team that won last year's Nations Cup.
Sarah, when asked about her thoughts on the Olympic venue, she said, “One moment during official training, I was in the start area and there were like 10 jumpers in front of me. I was looking down the hill and thinking that in a little over a year from now, there will be girls looking at the exact same thing before they take their first Olympic jump ever. That was amazing.”
The U.S. team put on an impressive show Sunday with three jumpers in the Top 9. Van came back from an unsteady jump and 21st place in the first round to a resounding 6th place finish–which some are calling a “massive feat.” Despite soreness in her knee, Hendrickson jumped to a solid 7th place and Hughes notched her best World Cup finish ever with a 9th place finish. Jessica Jerome finished 19th.
Austria's Daniela Iraschko, the 2011 World Champion, and France's Coline Mattel tied for 1st place. Japan's Sara Takanashi was 3rd.
“The level of women's ski jumping is so high right now and the competition is fierce. There are at least eight-12 women who can fight for the top spot and the competitions are super strong,” said Paolo Bernardi, Head World Cup Coach. “I'm really, really happy with the team's results.”
World Cup competition continues December 14 in Ramsau, Austria.