Vasja Bacj joins WSJ-USA staff
Ryan Summerlin August 29, 2014
Women’s Ski Jumping USA is delighted to welcome Vasja Bajc as the new travel coach. A native Slovenian and former ski jumper on the Yugoslavian national team, Bajc has coached ski jumping teams throughout Europe and Asia for more than 25 years.
From 1989 to 1993, Bajc coached the Spanish ski federation team to top three Continental Cup finishes. From 1994 to 2002, he trained the SAJ Japan Ski Federation team through three Olympic Games, securing 27 World Cup and Olympic medals. Under his leadership as head coach of the Swedish and Czech ski jumping teams, athletes earned top results and medal finishes at the World Cup, Continental Cup, and World Ski Jumping Competitions. Most recently, Bajc developed ski jumping as a sport in Turkey, recruiting and building a team of six 16- to 18-year-old jumpers and coaching them to top-40 finishes at the Continental Cup.
Commenting on his new appointment, Bacj said, "These women have great potential to continue achieving the level of success they have demonstrated in previous years. I hope that my rich history as a coach, and my knowledge and experience from the World Cup, World Ski Championships, and the Olympics, will contribute another stone to this mosaic of success. Working with women will be a new challenge for me and it is an honor to be working with the VISA Women’s Ski Jumping Team. The sky is waiting for the American birds!"
Women’s Ski Jumping USA head coach Alan Alborn said, "I am very honored and pleased to welcome Vasja Bajc to the team. combining forces, we will strengthen our team to compete at the highest level both nationally and internationally. The VISA Women’s Ski Jumping Team has been through some terrific challenges and fantastic accomplishments over the past four years. However, looking to the future with Sarah Hendrickson defending her World Champion title at the 2015 World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden, this winter through to the 2018 Olympics in Korea I have some clear goals in mind. With just four years to prepare for Korea, Vasja’s experience coaching champion ski jumpers to success at the Winter Games, World Cup and World Championships will be indispensable."
Sarah Hendrickson echoed this sentiment, saying, "I am really excited for Vasja to join our team. Although we have had a difficult year, his motivation and enthusiasm provided just what we needed after Sochi. I look forward to working with Vasja many years to come."
In addition, Women’s Ski Jumping USA aspires to leverage Bajc’s experience in developing young athletes and in organizing national ski jumping camps. This experience will be beneficial to both the national women’s team, as well as participants of our nascent Fly Girls program.
Women’s Ski Jumping USA is the primary support organization for the U.S. women’s ski jumping program and for the U.S. national team, officially called the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team. The organization administers and finances the team’s coaching, travel, training, equipment, and the Fly Girls junior development program. The mission of Women’s Ski Jumping USA is to support and run a successful and sustainable team and to grow participation in the U.S. women’s ski jumping program through the facilitation of national development efforts to produce the best women ski jumpers in the world. In addition, WSJ-USA aspires to remain an influential voice in advocating for gender equality in sport.