Hendrickson 19th In Normal Hill Finals
Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, Utah) soared into the darkness Monday night at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center to lead the USA women in their normal hill Olympic competition. Hendrickson, making her second Olympic appearance, finished 19th. Norway’s Maren Lundby took gold with Katharina Althaus of Germany silver. Bronze went to Japan’s Sara Takanashi, one of the sport’s biggest stars who had missed the medals in its debut in 2014.
Hendrickson combined jumps of 86.0 and 88.0 meters for a score of 160.6. In her Olympic debut, veteran Abby Ringquist (Park City, Utah) soared 77.0 and 90.0 meters to finish 29th. Nita Englund (Florence, Wis.), also in her first Olympics, was 31st.
“I came here to smile and have fun,” said Hendrickson. “It’s the Olympics - there’s nothing better than that.”
The event was another milestone for the American pioneers of women’s ski jumping with Ringquist taking the final ride of her career. “I’m so proud of myself for pushing myself the last four years and working my butt off to get to the Olympics,” said Ringquist, who had narrowly missed the 2014 team. “It’s been such a unique experience - I’m living my childhood dream.”
Like Hendrickson, she sees herself as a mentor to new athletes coming into the sport. “There are some great young girls coming up and I was lucky enough to watch them compete in a World Cup a few years ago and pass the torch. I look forward to guiding them.”
Hendrickson also reflected on the growth of the sport. “The progression of women’s ski jumping since Sochi is tremendous. We have way more athletes and countries and I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s cool to see younger girls coming up - we love to see them on the start list and look to the future.”
Englund had to nervously wait out the round, just missing the cut in 31st hoping to get a second jump.
All three Olympians will remain in PyeongChang taking in the Olympics and marching in the closing ceremony. Both Hendrickson and Englund are expected to finish up with the World Cup tour in March.
Women's normal hill