Four Park City-based athletes of Women's Ski Jumping USA - Lindsey Van, 28, Jessica Jerome, 25, Abby Hughes, 23, and Sarah Hendrickson, 18 - are ready to compete this week in the women's ski jumping World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy. The World Championship is the premiere event leading up to the first-ever women's ski jumping Olympic competition next year in Sochi, Russia. The women's individual jumping event is Friday, Feb. 22. A mixed-team event made up of the two top men and women from each country will take place Feb. 24.
"I love this hill and have confidence going into the comp," said Hendrickson, who is the 2012 World Cup champion. Hendrickson had a double World Cup victory in Val di Fiemme in 2012, including setting the hill record with a leap of 108 meters.
Val di Fiemme marks the third World Championships for Jerome, and and also for Van, who became the sport's first female World Champion in 2009. Van is a pioneer of women's ski jumping, and she and her teammates, along with former Salt Lake City mayor Didi Corradini, campaigned tirelessly for the sport's inclusion in the Winter Olympic Games. The 2012 film Ready to Fly chronicles their story, including their encounters with gender bias in the IOC, their heartbreaking rejection from the 2010 Vancouver Games, and their final acceptance for the 2014 Games in Sochi. The film is currently showing at film festivals around North America, and a broadcast debut is in the works. You can also get a DVD copy by making a contribution of $50 to Women's Ski Jumping USA.
Update: Park City's Sarah Hendrickson won the 2013 Women's Ski Jumping World Championship, with jumps of 106 and 103 meters, with near perfect style points. Teammate Jessica Jerome placed 6th, Lindsay Van placed 16th, and Abby Hughes placed 33rd.
Photo: WSJ-USA World Cup Team Members: Alissa Johnson, Sarah Hendrickson, Lindsey Van, Abby Hughes, Jessica Jerome, and Nina Lussi (not pictured). Photo by DanCampbellPhotography.com