My name is Sarah Hendrickson, Iʼm 18 years old and I was born and raised in Park City, Utah. Although that’s just what people see on the outside, I happen to be involved in what I believe to be the best sport in the world: ski jumping. Yep, I said it. I’m a FEMALE ski jumper. To give a little background to ski jumping (which isn’t well-known in the U.S.), men’s ski jumping has been included since the first Olympic Games in 1924, yet women’s ski jumping will make its debut next year in Sochi, Russia. Many of you might know the story behind our equality fight through courts and organizations and to avoid boring you with the details it can be summed up with adjectives such as long, painful and tedious. Regardless, the fight was fought and for the first time in history, women’s ski jumpers will join the estimated 2,600 athletes walking into the Olympic stadium next year. That’s my dream. In the next two years, I am going to be writing about what it takes to travel the world, train day in and day out so that I can experience the biggest goal for an athlete.
Since this is my first blog, I’ll begin by a short introduction of myself as a ski jumper and a brief update on previous seasons as well as my plan for the rest of this year. I started ski jumping at the age of 7, mainly because my brother was doing it and well... like brother like sister, right? I also started in 2002, which happened to be the Olympic year in Salt Lake City and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity of trying a sport that just built world-class facilities in my backyard. Almost instantly, I was hooked and most of my childhood memories include standing on top of a ski jump freezing my butt off. Thinking back, who knows why I stuck with it because today, I hate the cold, but that’s a whole other story.
As nights tuned to months and months turned to years, here I am 11 years later, competing on the World Cup circuit and loving every second of it. Last year, us girls had our first ever World Cup season and although I can’t complain about walking away with the overall globe, that is only the beginning of what challenges lie ahead. Yes, this includes the Olympics, however, at the moment my main focus for this season are World Cups and World Championships in February.
In the summer of 2011, I hurt my knee and a MRI revealed that I had broken off a piece of cartilage at the end of my femur and surgery would be required to fix it. Well...taking off the first World Cup season was not an option and I decided to continue jumping and see how well it would hold up. I obviously made it through the season and in the spring of 2012, I had surgery that took me out of jumping for six months.
Today, I am still struggling with the after affects of the surgery but it is definitely getting better and I am hoping it will be worth it on the long-term side of things.
That sums up some of the basics in my life and the things that have been happening leading up to this season. I will be keeping you updated on competitions and training situations as they occur and the lead up to the big Games in just a short 12 months!
For highlights and videos, check me out on the U.S. Ski Team’s YouTube channel.