Sarah Hendrickson: "Stay tuned and watch the girls fly!"
Sarah Hendrickson is one of the most outstanding athletes in Ladies Ski Jumping. The 21 year old US-Girl was the first ever winner of a Ladies Ski Jumping World Cup back in December 2011. The same season, she was the first athlete to win the Ladies overall World Cup. After jumping to the gold medal with the World Championships 2013 in Val di Fiemme, in August 2013 a horrible training accident in Oberstdorf damaged her knee. Against all odds, Hendrickson made it to the first Olympic appearance of the ladies in Sochi 2014. Still suffering from her knee injury, she underwent another surgery last week and will be out all of next season. For the time being Sarah Hendrickson will be the expert on the FIS Ladies Ski Jumping World Cup for fisskijumping.com. Here are her first impressions.
By Sarah Hendrickson
So, here I am. My ski jumping friends from all over the world are excited to be in Lillehammer right now, waiting for the 5th World Cup season of the ladies to start. It is tough not to be with them, spending my time alone in the gym instead and consulting doctors, not my coach. But honestly, it is not as tough as I thought it would be. I am a little experienced with those kind of breaks and already went through much more complicated situations. The surgery I´ve just had done was necessary to get my knee fixed. I´m trying to look at it as some time of rest. And I will be back just right on time to fight for the World Championships in Lahti. And afterwards heading straight on to Korea for the Olympics.
But enough about me. Let´s have a look at those amazing flying girls.
One thing ahead: I also very much enjoy watching the men. But with us ladies, things are still a little more real. You can see real emotions, we are cheering for each other’s furthest jumps. Just because it is so exciting to see girls coming from the hill. We are not taking our achievements like the World Cup, the Olympics or World Championships for granted. That’s why a lot of the female athletes are running around smiling all the time, despite the results not always being perfect.
As for the very top of the board, it´s very likely that Daniela Iraschko-Stolz and Sara Takanashi once more will be fighting for the big crystal bowl. They are outstanding, in every way. But I can see quite a few girls who will be challenging them. Yuki Ito is close, Spela Rogelj was the big surprise at last year’s season opening and I can tell you that she still improved. Of course Carina Vogt is in the game, too. There is something about her that you keep forgetting about that she could be on the very top after all. Her strength is absolutely unique. When the other ones are struggling with their technique, Carina can fight back with her muscles. And, of course, I am extremely curious for my good friend Eva Pinkelnig from Austria. This lady is incredible. She´s doing ski jumping for only three and a half years and still could achieve steady top-ten results in her first season. I am absolutely sure, that she is ready for her first podium this season. Eva is the perfect proof for the fact, that ski jumping is so much about mental strength. You have to get all those little details for your jump together – in your head. She is so good at this. That´s why she is already one of the best in the world.
All in all, it is hard to predict, if somebody will be able to beat Daniela and Sara. But what is coming behind those both is extremely close. There are easily 15 girls fighting for the 3rd spot on the podium.
My guessing for the first competition in Lillehammer, regarding the top three, is Sara Takanashi, Daniela Iraschko-Stolz and Yuki Ito. In which ever order.
Stay tuned and watch the girls fly!