This is the first of a new series called Myriad Questions, in which we’ll try to ask athletes a few questions a little more candid than their official bios and a little less technical than the specialty sites. We’ll learn how athletes are just like us (school problems, travel issues, etc.) and not like us (climbing a rope upside-down, a pole vaulting exercise).
Up first is one of a handful of people who have shared a ski lift with me: Sarah Hendrickson, who featured in this 2009 USA TODAY story and video about women’s ski jumpers fighting to get into the Olympics. They’re finally going to the Olympics, and they finally have a World Cup circuit — which Hendrickson dominated in the debut season of 2011-12, winning nine of 13 events.
This season, she’ll be the defending World Cup champion AND a new high school graduate. Yeah, she’s that young.
She answered email while prepping for the new season and her last days of high school. Here goes …
What’s the biggest difference between World Cup competition and Continental Cup (the top competition for women before World Cup events started)?
Although the girl competitors are basically the same between the two circuits, there are definitely some major differences between the two. Obviously the media coverage with TV and reporters that are constantly at our WC’s and awesome for getting media coverage. As well as prize money, which is another bonus. As far as the first WC season and the difference between the COC seasons before, the level has gotten much high and the number of girls have also increased.
In back-to-back competitions on the same weekend in Hinterzarten, Germany, you finished ninth and first. What was the difference between the two?
The competition on day one in Hinterzarten was very weather-depending. The wind and snow played a huge role and I also didn’t jump that well technically. This happens in ski jumping and I wasn’t upset with that result.
You did some competitions outside the World Cup, including New Years Day in Calgary. What drew you there?
For New Years I had to go to Canada with the younger women’s team to qualify for World Jr. Championships based on Women Ski jumping USA standards/qualifications. It’s important to have the whole Jr. qualify at one competition so younger girls can see what they are pushing for to make the team in the future.
How did you end up doing commentary for Eurosport?
I was honored to do commentary for EuroSport after my win in Lillehammer and I honestly don’t know who asked me but it was an amazing opportunity.
You had surgery just as you went back to school. Was that aggravating?
Surgery was a huge priority this spring and although it was a bummer starting with school they understood. It was nice to have a distraction away from not training and could focus on school.
If Winter Sports School had a soccer team, would you crush everyone in the state?
It would be close to impossible to have a team but there are some talented kids that go here so it would be interesting!
How did the ACT go?
The ACT is hard and I wish I had more time to study for it. I have never been good at test taking so I struggled but truthfully I am happy it is over.
What’s your top college choice?
How do you possibly have time to use Pinterest?
I love love love Pinterest! I love cooking so my main search is the food and drink!
What’s your favorite jumping hill?
My favorite hill is Lillehammer’s large hill. I have not jumped it in a few years but I have my personal record on it along with some other good memories on it
Worst travel experience?
A couple years ago we had to fly to Japan but tickets were cheaper to fly via Europe. To say the least it took about 3 days to get there since our first flight out was delayed! After sleeping in many airports and long van rides we finally made it without bags. I love Japan but it’s a long travel day(s).
If you could build a ski jump facility anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Somewhere in South America! Although this is a winter sport I don’t love the cold so a tropical location would be a nice training summer hill!
Follow Sarah Hendrickson on Twitter at @schendrickson