Everything was progressing well for Park City native Sarah Hendrickson to win a gold medal in women’s ski jumping’s inaugural showing in the next month’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
She was crowned the inaugural World Cup circuit champion in 2012. She finished second overall on the 2013 World Cup circuit.
Then she severely injured her right knee during a training jump in Germany in August of last year. She instantly went from a gold medal favorite to just hoping to return to health in time to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. To get to that point, Hendrickson needed to start small.
In the video above, the 19-year-old talks about her first time back on skis. In the background is that small hill where she started. It was a far cry from the K90 and K120 used in Olympic competition. Instead she was sliding down something that could be mistaken for a snowbank. Hendrickson’s coach, Alan Alborn, made the hill in the shadow of the K90 jump so she could get used to the feel of skis again. Alborn talks in the video about why he decided to make the hill, a decision based on his own jumping experience.
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