Salt Lake City, Utah The 2nd Annual Governor's State of Sport Awards will honor ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson, a Park City native, with the Olympian of the Year award. The awards ceremony will honor individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to sport in Utah in 2012. In celebration of Utah's Olympic Legacy, Gov. Herbert and the Utah Sports Commission will present this year's Olympian of the Year award to Sarah Hendrickson to recognize her excellence and achievement in Olympic sport.
"Utah is proud of its Olympic legacy and the success of our Olympic athletes that live and train here," said Gov. Herbert. "Our world-class venues, athlete training and hosting of major sporting events has helped to create successful Olympians like Sarah Hendrickson."
Hendrickson grew up not far from the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. As a seven year old, she watched the 2002 Olympics and followed her father and brother into ski jumping. Today, on the eve of her sport's debut in the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Hendrickson has established herself as one of ski jumping's biggest stars, winning the 2012 FIS Ski Jumping World Cup title.
"Since I was born and raised in this wonderful state of Utah, it is such an honor to receive an award from the Governor himself," said Hendrickson. "Having an award given to an athlete just shows how much pride the state puts in its athletes and sport programs. I am very honored."
As a 13-year-old, Hendrickson medaled on the large hill at the U.S. Championships. At 14, she won a FIS Continental Cup (predecessor to the World Cup). 15, she was a Junior Worlds medalist. And in 2011-12, the then 17-year-old Parkite opened the inaugural FIS World Cup season for women's ski jumping with a win on the Olympic jump in Lillehammer, Norway. Three months later she'd won nine of the 13 World Cup races and had taken the season title. In December 2012, she made her first trip to Sochi and picked up yet another win on the Olympic hill.
"Athletes like Sarah continue to play a key role in reminding the world that Utah has a very strong Olympic legacy from 2002," said Jeff Robbins, president & CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. "We are thrilled to recognize Sarah for her achievements in the Olympic sport of ski jumping."
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert will recognize Hendrickson and others, along with tennis legend André Agassi, at the awards luncheon on Tuesday, April 16, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Zions Bank Basketball Center.
In addition to the Olympian of the Year award, a Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to Spencer F. Eccles and a Partner of the Year award will be presented to the United States Ski & Snowboard Association.
The nine fan-voting category awards include High School Female Athlete, High School Male Athlete, Collegiate or Pro Female Athlete, Collegiate Male Athlete, Pro Male Athlete, Team of the Year, Highlight of the Year, Game or Event of the Year and Coach of the Year. The nominees were selected by a committee comprised of members of the sports media and community at large. Voting is now live at www.stateofsportawards.com and will conclude on Tuesday, April 9, at midnight. The winners, chosen by sports fans, will then be honored at the Tuesday, April 16, ceremony.