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Kurt Kragthorpe and Michael C. Lewis
Kurt Kragthorpe and Michael C. Lewis report from Sochi, Russia. For more Olympics coverage, go to our Olympics page.

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Sarah Hendrickson of the United States soars through the air during a women's ski jumping training session at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Sarah Hendrickson cautious on two training jumps

Sochi, Russia • Ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson did not fare very well in her first official training jumps at the Sochi Olympics.

In fact, she was at the bottom of the standings list.

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The 19-year-old reigning world champion from Park City is approaching her first competition since recovering from a major knee injury six months ago and did not take the first of three allowable training jumps at the RusSki Gorki Center on Saturday. When she did jump, she covered only 81.5 and 78.0 meters — far below her usual standards in the 100-meter range.

"I’m not all that happy about training today," she said. "I have to give myself a break because I haven’t had that many training jumps and this is a new hill. ... I’m just happy to be here."

A team spokeswoman said Hendrickson jumped cautiously by design.

She skipped her first jump because she was scheduled to be the very first jumper and did not care for that, then went easier than usual — she ranked 27th and 28th on her two jumps, among 28 jumpers — in part because the landing area here is a bit flatter and harder than on some hills, potentially a risk to her knee.

Also, coach Alan Alborn wants Hendrickson to save as much as possible for the competition Tuesday night.

"I took much lower speed today than some of the other girls, something my coaches and I talked about just to help out with any situations," Hendrickson said. "But we have more training days."

The other Americans, Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome, had mixed days on the hill.

Both took all three jumps. Van finished 18th, 17th and seventh on her jumps, while Jerome was 13th, 16th and 12th. Japan’s Sara Takanashi, the two-time defending World Cup champion and heavy favorite, had the longest first jump at 98.0 meters, but Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz beat her on the final two jumps, soaring 100.0 and 99.0 meters.

"It was perfect today," Van said. "The hill is great, the weather is great. I feel good and I’m ready."

- Michael C. Lewis

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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