Saturday, December 3, 2011
Sarah Hendrickson, 17, wins ski jump
LILLEHAMMER, Norway -- American teenager Sarah Hendrickson won the first women's World Cup ski jump on the same Lillehammer hill used by the men in the 1994 Winter Olympics.
The 17-year-old Hendrickson jumped 95½ meters Saturday, pushing French opponent Coline Mattel to second place.
Hendrickson, of Park City, Utah, finished with 277 points. Mettel had 247.7 and Melanie Faisst of Germany was third in a field of nearly 50 women from 15 countries.
"I held it together and I'm very happy," a smiling Hendrickson said after the race.
The competition was delayed by more than an hour because of the snowy and windy conditions, but Hendrickson said she wasn't affected by the wait.
"You just have to jump like you do always," she said. "You can't change anything -- stay strong and keep relaxed and hopefully it will come together."
World champion Daniela Iraschko of Austria was fourth.
American Lindsey Van -- who became the sport's first female world champion in 2009 -- missed the inaugural World Cup event because of a hip injury.
Beginning with the women's second-tier Continental Cup began seven years ago, the competition Saturday was another milestone in a long battle to get women's ski jumping recognized as an elite sport.
The sport was included on the Olympic program for the 2014 Sochi Games after the International Olympic Committee twice rejected it for the 2010 Vancouver program, arguing that it lacked elite competition.
In the men's event, Austria's Andreas Kofler won after setting a hill record with a leap of 105 meters in the first round. He jumped 98 meters in the second round, earning a total score of 279.3 points.
Germany's Richard Freitag was second with 273.3 points and Poland's Kamil Stoch was third.