Former world champion ski jumper Lindsey Van enjoyed her best performance of the season Sunday, finishing fifth in a World Cup event in Sapporo, Japan.
The Park City native was among three Americans in the top 15 — a strong performance for a group that is still without injured reigning world champion Sarah Hendrickson.
Japan’s Sara Takanashi won for the sixth time in seven events on the World Cup tour this season, but Van climbed up from 14th place after her first jump with a 93-meter leap on her second.
"The timing was better," she said, "and I was just focusing on one jump at a time."
Teammate Jessica Jerome finished seventh to enjoy her third top-10 finish of the season, while Alissa Johnson soared to 14th place for the second competition in a row. Jerome already has locked up a spot for the Sochi Olympics, while the other women are still competing for the other two or three spots that will be available.
The women will jump next weekend in Zao, Japan, before returning home to Utah for the announcement of the Olympic team on Jan. 22.
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