Alrighty people…for those of you who haven’t yet heard, Sarah Hendrickson won the Gold yesterday in women’s ski jumping!!! She is now the World Champion, and everyone on the team is so excited for her, proud of her, pumped for the jumpers team, thrilled that their coach, Paolo Bernardi, is from Predazzo and now gets to see his athlete crowned in his hometown. How awesome is that?!?
She had an amazing second jump after handling the pressure of leading after the first jump, which is very impressive. And the team was very excited to toast her success, and the hard work of all the jumper girls! Sarah was the first one to say that it takes a whole team to bring that kind of success, and we’re all super proud of the whole team’s efforts. Jessica Jerome finished 6th, Lindsey Van was 16th and Abbey Hughes got 33rd.
But what I loved most about the day was seeing the whole team’s priceless reaction when they annouced Sarah’s win – they all stormed into the finish area for a group hug, lifting Sarah up on their shoulders, waving a US flag. It was super emotional and really inspiring, and for me, one of those moments you just can’t re-create or make up. It’s how our relay team felt when we got bronze this fall, it’s how Kikkan and I felt when we won the team sprint in Quebec, and it’s how many more amazing moments in the future will feel for USSA Nordic!
The men’s nordic combined also raced their individual competition yesterday, and our guys had a solid day – Bryan Fletcher got 14th, Billy Demong 23rd, Taylor Fletcher 25th, and Todd Lodwick placed 35th. While they weren’t all thrilled with the performance, it was a good opener to shake the dust off and I know the rest of their week will be great!
Today is the Skiathalon – 15km for Women, 30km for Men. I’m excited to cheer on our team! While the opening race of the Championships, the classic sprint, didn’t go exactly as we’d hoped – it was a tricky waxing day and just didn’t swing the way we wanted it to – there were still some awesome moments. Like Sophie getting into the rounds in her first ever World Champs start (Yeeeeahhhh buddy)!!! Soph, Kikkan and Andy all got into the rounds, and although nobody made it past the quarters, they were feeling strong and looked great, which bodes well for the rest of the week. What was most impressive to me was how everyone dealt with their disappointment professionally and came out swinging, ready for the rest of the races. So lets get ready to cheer for the skiathalon racers!