Sarah Hendrickson

Sarah Hendrickson out for season after another knee surgery

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Sarah Hendrickson, the first woman to ski jump in the Olympics in 2014, will miss the upcoming World Cup season after reinjuring her surgically repaired right knee in June and undergoing another surgery this week.

“I am not giving up on my dreams that I set years ago — this is just another speed bump in the road but my story isn’t over,” Hendrickson said in a press release. “It’s a bummer for me to miss the World Cup tour this season, but I’m fortunate that this is a year without and Olympics or World Championships.

“It will be an opportunity for me to have a mental break and focus on coming back next season even stronger for the 2018 Olympics. I have a different mindset than in the past and I’m confident in my ability to come back in 2017 and be competitive in Pyeongchang.”

Hendrickson, who is 21 and is to undergo another surgery in a few months, was sixth at the World Championships on Feb. 20 in her first full season since blowing out her right knee in an Aug. 21, 2013, jumping crash.

Hendrickson finished 21st at the Sochi Olympics and won the 2013 World Championship.

The World Cup season starts in December.

Unique photos from Four Hills ski jumping competition

Sarah Hendrickson sixth at ski jumping World Championships

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Sarah Hendrickson finished sixth in defense of her ski jumping World Championship in Falun, Sweden, on Friday.

Much has changed for Hendrickson since she captured gold in 2013. She blew out her right knee in an Aug. 21, 2013, crash and rehabbed quickly to return for women’s ski jumping’s Olympic debut in Sochi, where she was the first woman to jump in the Olympics and finished 21st.

Hendrickson, 20, made her first World Cup podiums since her crash in the two events last weekend leading up to the World Championships.

Her goal in Falun was to reach the podium.

German Carina Vogt captured the World title, complementing her Olympic gold.

Hendrickson’s rival, Japan’s Sara Takanashi, finished fourth on Friday, just as she did as the favorite at the Olympics.

Jessica Jerome, who was the top U.S. finisher in Sochi in 10th place, was ninth in Falun.

Lindsey Van, the third U.S. Olympian and 2009 World champion, has retired from ski jumping, according to her Instagram.

Unique photos from Four Hills ski jumping competition

Sarah Hendrickson’s goal to defend World Championship this season

Sarah Hendrickson
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Sarah Hendrickson, the first woman to ski jump at an Olympics, set her sights on winning a second straight World Championship this season.

Hendrickson, 20, finished 21st at the Sochi Olympics after blowing out her right knee in an Aug. 21, 2013. She took more time for rehabilitation after Sochi.

Hendrickson finished second in her first competition since Sochi two weeks ago, beaten by Japanese rival Sara Takanashi. The World Cup season starts in December. The World Championships, held in odd-numbered years, are in February.

“It’s gonna be a tough task [defending my 2011 World title], obviously Sara is a very strong athlete but you know, I just have to focus on myself, focus on my technique and what I need to do to have good jumps,” Hendrickson said in an International Ski Federation interview. “If I have the best jumps I can have and either her or somebody else has a better jump then they deserve to win. It’s my goal this season to defend my title, but I just have to take it step by step for myself and just get back into the swing of things and not to be too tough on myself with coming back from an injury.”

Hendrickson said she still feels her knee injury sometimes, but it doesn’t restrict her training. She’s been in “complete training mode” since July. She came back too early in June and aggravated the knee.

“I’m stronger than ever now,” she told FIS. “It was hard work, but it’s nice that I’m finally past that.”

Hendrickson said Olympic teammates Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome will jump this winter, but Van might not do so in competition. Van is also coming back from a knee injury.

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