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The U.S. Women's Ski Jumping Team is Making History in 2014


Five months after blowing her knee and tearing her meniscus, Sarah Hendrickson's Olympic dreams have come true: The 19-year-old ski jumper was officially named to the inaugural women's Olympic ski jumping team earlier this afternoon. Although Hendrickson hasn't spent much time on the slopes since her accident in August, her subsequent rehab and return to the sport has convinced everyone she's back on top. She will join teammates Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van in Sochi.

For these three women, this moment has been an especially long time coming. It took more than 10 years of international debate before women's ski jumping was designated an official Olympic event. This year, the female ski jumpers will make their debut in Sochi, though they will only compete in one event, not three, like the men’s team does. Moreover, the team’s coach Paolo Bernardi recently quit, citing personal reasons. USA Today reports that Bernardi had requested an international assistant, due to the heavy time commitment and travel his job required, but was denied. Alan Alborn is now coaching the U.S. team. The controversy isn't over, either, as one prominent figure in the sport recently voiced his concern about letting female ski jumpers into the Olympics.

Still, Hendrickson and her fellow athletes have finally made it! While the U.S. may send one more woman to Sochi if other countries don't fill their quotas (in which case Alissa JohnsonAbby Hughes, or Nina Lussi could potentially take the spot), as of right now, the U.S will be looking toward Jerome, Van, and Hendrickson to make the USA proud. As Lussi told SHAPE in an earlier interview, "This is more deserved than anything. We're finally being given the chance to perform at the highest level not only for us, but for our sport, our country, for women."


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