It’s pretty hard to do much in secret when you’re a world champion athlete whose every move is closely watched in the days leading up to the Olympics.
But in mid-January, 19-year-old Park City ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson quietly positioned herself atop the 90-meter hill at Utah Olympic Park and returned to her sport, five months after a crash while training in Germany that blew out her knee.
Real-time coverage of the Sochi GamesThroughout the 2014 Winter Olympics, visit sltrib.com/olympics for the most up-to-date coverage of the Games. You also may follow reporter Michael C. Lewis (@MCLTribune) and columnist Kurt Kragthorpe (@tribkurt) on Twitter.
"The feeling of that first jump back was one of the best sensations in the entire world," Hendrickson said Jan. 21 in revealing she’d returned to jumping. A day later, she, along with fellow Park City residents Jessica Jerome and Lindsay Van, were officially named to the first-ever U.S. Olympic women’s ski jumping team.
There’s no doubt Utahns will be cheering for Hendrickson and her peers as the 2014 Sochi Winter Games get underway Feb. 7.
She’s a homegrown Utah Olympian, a product of Salt Lake City’s legacy as host of the 2002 Winter Games. Hendrickson is one of 15 native Utahns plus another 49 with ties to the state who will represent the United States in Sochi.
The Olympics, of course, are international news, but they’re also an important local story for The Salt Lake Tribune. We’ll be in Sochi in full force to provide the best, most comprehensive coverage of the Games available from a Utah news source.
Reporter Michael C. Lewis, columnist Kurt Kragthorpe and photographer Chris Detrick make up our Sochi coverage team. Sports editor Joe Baird will back them up from here, along with assistant sports editors Eric Walden and Steve Mohlman, designer Jenna Busey and digital director Kevin Winters Morriss. Our team will work virtually around the clock to provide complete coverage at www.sltrib.com/olympics and in The Tribune’s print edition.
In addition, Tribune staffers are part of a broader Digital First Media effort at the Games that also will include reporters, columnists and photographers from The Denver Post, the San Jose Mercury News and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. You’ll see these journalists’ work at sltrib.com and in print as well.
All three Tribune journalists headed for Sochi are veterans of past Olympics.
The 2014 Olympics will be the seventh Lewis has covered, starting with the Sydney Games in 2000 and excluding only the 2004 Athens Games.
Kragthorpe has been to three Winter Games: 1998 in Nagano, Japan; 2006 in Turin, Italy; and 2010 in Vancouver, B.C. He also covered the Summer Games in 2004 in Athens, Greece, and 2008 in Beijing.
Kragthorpe was here during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics but was sports editor at the time, directing coverage of everything else that went on in Utah sports, which didn’t stop because of the Winter Games.
Detrick, a newer member of The Tribune staff, shot photos in Beijing.
All three are looking forward to Sochi even as we all closely monitor security concerns.
"Looking back, there were always host-country issues that framed the buildup to the Olympics," Kragthorpe said. "But once the Games began, the stories of the athletes took precedence."
And Utah athletes, after all, are why we’ll be there. Their stories of triumph and sometimes of dreams deferred are why Utahns love the Winter Games.
The Olympics are our legacy, and Hendrickson — along with other Utah gold medal hopefuls such as Ted Ligety, Steve Holcomb and Noelle Pikus-Pace — is one of us.
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