Oslo, Norway • Sarah Hendrickson clinched the overall women’s World Cup ski jumping championship a week ago.
But Friday, she finally enjoyed the reward.
The 17-year-old from Park City hoisted the crystal globe trophy after finishing with yet another victory in the final World Cup event of the season on the Midstubakken hill in Oslo, Norway — at the same time establishing herself as the early favorite for gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.
"I was relieved when I landed on the last jump and all of a sudden, the season was over just like that," she said.
At the site of last year’s world championships — where the women were still trying to prove to the International Olympic Committee that they belonged in the Olympics — Hendrickson edged rival Sara Takanashi of Japan to claim an amazing ninth victory in 13 events this season.
After clinching the title last weekend in Japan, she scored 254.1 points with jumps of 104 and 99 meters, while Takanashi managed only 250.7 points despite setting a hill record by soaring 108 meters on her second jump.
Better still, Hendrickson savored her victory with her mother and 81-year-old grandmother.
Nancy Hendrickson and Arline Bownes made the trip by virtue of a benefactor in Park City, allowing Bownes to see her granddaughter jump for the first time since Hendrickson was just 9 years old, leaping off a much smaller hill that her father helped build when he was a young jumper in Plymouth, N.H.
"It’s so memorable to have Sarah’s grandmother here," Nancy Hendrickson said. "My father is gone, but I know dad has been on Sarah’s wings this whole season."
The Americans also clinched the overall team victory for the season, beating Germany by nearly 600 points in the standings.
Former world champion Lindsey Van finished fourth — far better than her disastrous results in foul weather on the same hill in the world championships last year — while fellow Park City jumpers Jessica Jerome, Abby Hughes and Alissa Johnson finished 13th, 27th and 34th, respectively.
"I think that I’m going to realize this season in one month because I have too many emotions" now, said Paolo Bernardi, the international coach for Women’s Ski Jumping USA. "This winter, everything was perfect, just perfect. And I want to enjoy this moment."
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