Sarah Hendrickson sixth at World Championships |

Sarah Hendrickson sixth at World Championships

Defending World Champion Sarah Hendrickson took sixth place at the World Championships in Falun, Sweden, on Friday, Feb. 20. Hendrickson scored 226.4 points with jumps of 87.0 and 91.0 meters in variable wind conditions.

"I haven’t worked as hard as I’ve ever worked these past 18 months," said Hendrickson. "The physical is there, but the mental side is a huge part of this sport and I am actually very happy with my sixth place today. It is better than most of my results this whole season. The conditions didn’t cater to my jumping style, but that is how ski jumping is. The wind was quite fair considering where we are. Having a far jump is what I love about ski jumping. That is what I have to take away from today and build on it."

U.S. Visa Women’s Ski Jumping teammate Jessica Jerome soared 86.5 and 90.5 meters to secure her ninth-place finish with 219.4 points.

"Tonight was great," commented Jerome. "It is notoriously windy here, but it calmed down for us, and we had a very fair competition. On the first jump, the first part was okay, but I have also been working on not being too aggressive and killing the effect and I did exactly what I have been trying not to do. On the second round, I did what I was supposed to do and I went four meters farther! I was happy with the second jump."

Nita Englund, who has had a remarkable 2014-15 World Cup season, placed 12th and Tara Geraghty-Moats placed 18th in her first World Championships. 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist Carina Vogt won the competition with jumps of 91.5 and 92.0 meters and 236.9 points.

"I was a little disappointed with how I performed, because I didn’t really do my best," said Englund. "The whole week I struggled with my timing and it was difficult to let the flight develop because I was just late on most of my jumps. That was the biggest issue, honestly. I let the pressure get to me."

"Although we had a rather tough day in Falun, along with Austria, we were the only team with four athletes among the top-20," said Head Coach Alan Alborn. "We are up against the strongest nations, with resources so much greater than ours. The reason these women continue to be successful is because of their passion and fighting American spirit."

On Sunday, Feb. 22, Hendrickson and Englund participated in the Normal Hill Mixed Team event contributing strongly to Team USA’s seventh-place finish with 789.3 points. Englund soared 94.0 and 87.5 meters in her two jumps, while Hendrickson flew 98.5 and 94.0 meters. The German team comprised of 2015 World Champions Carina Vogt and Severin Freund, along with Richard Frietag and Katharina Althaus, won the 11-team competition with 917.9 points.

"Technically [my jumps] were a little bit better, but the wind conditions were a lot better for me today," Hendrickson said about the mixed team event. "I had a blast. I think that I had the farthest jump of the day [among both men and women], so that is really exciting. My thoughts are with Nick Alexander — he had an amazing jump, just trouble on the landing. I think it is awesome to be with the World Cup men and I hope it will be an Olympic event in the future."

The women will next compete in Oslo, Norway, on March 14 and 15 at the World Cup competition.

"We have one more Big Hill competition in Oslo and I love jumping Big Hill," said Nita Englund. "It should be good and I am excited about it. The Big Hill at Holmenkollen is legendary and is at sea level. There is a lot of pressure so it should be tons of fun."

Hendrickson is also excited about the next World Cup.

"I haven’t been doing a lot of training on large hills because of my knee, but I am ready for [Holmenkollen] and I am ready to have a good result there," she said. "My goal is to win. I won there two years ago and I am ready again."

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