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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