Sarah Hendrickson

Sarah Hendrickson, Michael Glasder become first ski jumpers named to 2018 Olympic Team

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Sarah Hendrickson reacted as soon as she landed her second jump – she was going back to the Olympics.

“I can’t believe I did it,” Hendrickson said on NBC. “I just believe in hard work now. Dreams come true. If you keep working, they’ll come true.”

Hendrickson won the 2013 world championship title before blowing out her knee in a training accident prior to the Sochi Olympics. She competed there and finished 21st after originally looking like a gold medal threat.

Hendrickson lead after the first round of competition jumps on Sunday at the 2002 Olympic ski jumping venue in Utah, leaving her to jump last in the second round. She flew 90.6 meters and 91.0 meters in her two jumps, despite being delayed by a teammate’s crash.

Nina Lussi was in the hunt and jumping well until her second competition jump, where she crashed at the landing. She waved to the crowd as she was taken out of the landing area on a sled stretcher by the ski patrol.

Abby Ringquist finished second and Nita Englund rounded out the podium in third.

On the men’s side, Michael Glasder will be making his first Olympic appearance in PyeongChang after missing out on the 2010 and 2014 Olympic teams. He posted a 98 meter jump to lead the first round and followed it up with round two with a 98.5 meter jump.

He speculated in an interview that flying in from Europe and being jetlagged may have actually helped in his preparations this time around.

Glasder had to follow the longest jump of the day, a 100-meter jump from Kevin Bickner. Bickner ultimately finished second, followed by Will Rhoads in third.

The U.S. Olympic Trials for ski jumping functioned as winner-take-all events, with the winners being placed on the PyeongChang Olympic team. The international governing body for ski jumping (FIS) has not allocated the quota spots for the Olympics yet, so the full Olympic team roster won’t be announced until January 22. The qualifying window is open through mid-January, so the U.S. has the opportunity to lock in more spots.

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MORE: Athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team

U.S. Olympic Nordic combined, ski jumping trials preview, TV schedule

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A new generation of U.S. Olympic hopefuls take flight at the Nordic combined and ski jumping trials in Park City, Utah, on Saturday and Sunday.

NBC, and the NBC Sports app will air ski jumping trials coverage Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Nordic combined takes place Saturday.

A detailed schedule of both events is here.

Three athletes will qualify for the Olympic team at trials — the winner in each event. The rest of each team will be chosen in January, based on form this season and discretionary criteria.

The only U.S. Olympic medals in either sport in the last 90 years came in 2010, when veterans Bill DemongTodd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane led the way.

All are now retired.

Likewise, U.S. female ski jumping pioneers Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome, who helped the event gain Olympic inclusion for the first time in 2014, retired after competing in Sochi.

And in men’s ski jumping, nobody on the trials entry list owns Olympic experience.

So, who is worth watching?

Start with Nordic combined brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, who were part of a sixth-place team in Sochi. (The U.S. might not qualify a team event spot for PyeongChang and could have as few as two Nordic combined skiers overall at the Games.)

Bryan, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4, picked up an individual fifth-place finish at the 2015 World Championships.

Then at the last World Cup stop, he matched his best individual World Cup finish (seventh) since before the Sochi Games.

Sarah Hendrickson, who wore bib No. 1 in Sochi as the first female Olympic ski jumper, continues to be the face of the U.S. program.

Hendrickson was a Sochi medal favorite after winning the 2013 World title, but she tore her right ACL and MCL less than six months before the Games and was fortunate to even make it to Russia. She finished 23rd.

Hendrickson suffered a second ACL tear in summer 2015 and underwent a complete ACL reconstruction in November 2015.

She returned as the U.S.’ top jumper last season, ranking 14th in the world, with Nita Englund two spots behind her.

“Life is so much easier without knee pain… only took 4 years,” Hendrickson tweeted Nov. 4, though she was 45th and 52nd in two World Cup events later that fall.

Young U.S. male ski jumpers give the team hope of its first top-30 Olympic finish since the 2002 Games.

Will Rhoads, 22, had career-best 21st- and 29th-place finishes at a World Cup stop earlier this month.

Kevin Bickner, 21, placed 15th in a ski flying event in March, the best World Cup result by an American man since 2003.

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MORE: Broadcast schedule for all U.S. Olympic Trials

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