Preview: Women’s ski jumping makes Olympic debut



Feb. 11 – women’s normal hill first round 12:30 p.m. ET; final round 1:30 p.m. ET


Feb. 11 – women’s ski jumping normal hill final round LIVE from 1:30 ET on NBCSN (also on NBC’s primetime coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET)

MORE: Ten facts about the U.S. women’s ski jumping team

After fighting to get women’s ski jumping into the Olympics back around 2010, Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome will get their wish in Sochi, as the event is primed to debut in 2014.


Van helps the sport break new ground

There’s been a men’s ski jumping event in every Winter Olympics since 1924, but helping to get the event going for women doesn’t leave Van feeling boastful, as she told NBC back in November 2013.

“I don’t see myself as a pioneer, I see myself as the older athlete who had to go through all of that,” Van said. “I got to watch the sport go from nothing to where it is now.”

Hendrickson bounces back

Sarah Hendrickson won gold in the 2013 World Championships, but her Olympic participation was very much in doubt after suffering a severe knee injury while training in August. She returned to the sport in January and seems poised to give it a go in Sochi, though.

Hendrickson posted this photo to Instagram to celebrate the achievement:


A significant breakthrough

The U.S. women’s team discussed how meaningful it is for the sport to make it into the Olympics back in December.

“It’s crazy to look back and see the development of the sport in the last two years; it’s way more professional,” Van said. “We have a World Cup circuit and a World Championship. It’s really moving forward, it’s cool to see it happen, it’s unbelievable at times.”


One question is: how will Hendrickson, 19, stack up against Japan’s Sara Takanashi?

In addition to Takanashi posing a threat, Russia’s Irina Avvakumova has reached the podium six times during this World Cup season while Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz managed to do so 10 times during the same span. Coline Mattel figures to be a contender for France, as well.

Click here for other international ski jumpers of note.

Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James

Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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