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.