Sarah Hendrickson back on podium |

Sarah Hendrickson back on podium

Sarah Hendrickson of the U.S. Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team placed third in both the 12th and 13th World Cup competitions in Ljubno, Slovenia, Feb. 14 and 15.

On Saturday, Hendrickson secured her podium finish by soaring 86.0 and 87.0 meters in her two jumps and scoring 237.1 points. Teammate Nita Englund placed 12th, with jumps of 83.5 and 83.0 meters and 224.2 points. Tara Geraghty-Moats placed 17th on Saturday, flying 80.0 and 85.0 meters and scoring 215.2 points. Abby Hughes placed 20th. Sara Takanashi of Japan took first place with jumps of 88.0 and 90.0 meters and 248.5 points.

"I am really, really happy with today," said Hendrickson, who suffered a serious knee injury in August 2013. "I can’t even begin to explain how much weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I needed this for myself — the confidence and contentment with all the hard work that I have put in. It’s been a long road to get to this place today, and I can only smile."

"Today my nerves got the best of me," said Englund. "I learned that it is best to jump calmly and normally — and I did neither today. It was a baby step back, but tomorrow is a new day."

Hendrickson repeated her podium performance on Sunday, soaring 89.0 and 88.0 meters and scoring 243.8 points. Nita Englund improved her performance with a 10th-place finish on Sunday, flying 86.0 and 84.5 meters and scoring 228.6 points. Tara Geraghty-Moats finished 23rd with jumps of 81.5 and 82.5 meters and 210.0 points. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria and Sara Takanashi tied for first place.

"The wind conditions were challenging," said Abby Hughes. "There were mostly tailwinds. However, I am happy that we are continuing to have a very high level of competition and that I am able to stay close in the field!"

"I am happy with the weekend, but I think that the girls had more in their legs," said travel coach Vasja Bajc. "I am really happy for Sarah that she finally stepped over the border and regained her confidence. This result will make her even stronger. Nita had problems with timing of take-offs and Tara had problems with her landing. Abby had some good jumps, but needs to increase the number each competition. I hope the athletes can get some refreshment time before their departure to Falun, so that that they can present themselves there in their best performance."

The athletes will travel next to Falun, Sweden, for the World Championships. The women’s competition will take place on Feb. 20 and the mixed team competition will take place on Feb. 22.

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