Nothing But Smiles (4/19/13)

 
 
Waving to the crowd after winning

On the podium with Japan's Sara Takanashi (L) and Austria's
Jacqueline Seifriedsberger (R)
in Oslo, Norway

BY SARAH HENDRICKSON

After World Championships, I headed home for 10 days to decompress from the past two months in Europe before my last two World Cups of the season. It was really nice to be home and hang out with friends before heading back to Oslo. The weather was amazing in Park City – a little warm for ski jumping, but I loved the sun!

On March 10, I headed back to Trondheim, Norway for another World Cup. I had never been there before and I absolutely loved it. The city is beautiful and the hill is now a new favorite. I had great training jumps and actually ended up winning and was thrilled to maintain my good jumping after worlds.

After that comp, the top 30 women of the overall World Cup headed to Oslo for our season final. The final was held on Holmenkollen, which is not only the mecca of ski jumping history but also a large hill (k120). This was a historical event for women’s ski jumpers because it was the first World Cup held on a large hill. Ever.

Now Iʼm a thrill seeker, speed lover, go-getter, so naturally, the bigger the hill the better!

Us American girls get to train on big hills much more than the other countries so we were more than ready to jump this hill. The training was rough due to the crazy weather conditions, but I had a blast! When the competition day rolled around, the sun was shining and head wind was rolling up the hill. Perfect.

My first jump, I went 133.5 meters. I cannot even put into words how fun it is to fly that far in the air. I landed and from that point on I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day. My second jump was a little shorter but enough to win the World Cup, because my style was better than Sara Takanashi, who took second place. Jumping on that big hill reminded me how much I love ski jumping and the happiness that it constantly provides in my life.

With those two last World Cups in Norway, that was a wrap of the season. After 16 World Cups, two World Junior Championship events and of course World Champs, the 2012-2013 season was over. Crazy.

I ended up second in the overall World Cup and lost my World Cup champion title but I could not have walked away happier. Having the title of world champion under my belt and four more World Cup victories, which tally my wins to 13 in the past two years, I see this season as a success.

I had so much fun this winter and although I had some hard times (World Junior Championships), the memories and the learning experiences outweigh the hard times. I am now back at home doing sponsor and media stuff for this spring but I am already excited for summer training. This summer I won’t have school or an injury to come back from, so all my focus is on the hill and getting stronger in the gym. It is crazy to think that our next season is the Olympic year, but that doesn’t scare me. It only pushes me to train harder. Until then, enjoy the warmer weather! And stay connected to the team at wsjusa.com!

Check out my jumps from Oslo!