VISA Women’s Ski Jumping Team
(The Visa® Women’s Ski Jumping Team (left to right)
Lindsey Van, Abby Hughes, Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Alissa Johnson)
For the first time the U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping Team can voice with relish: the countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. After more than a decade of legal, political, and moral battles, the decision was made allowing women to jump in the Olympics beginning with the 2014 games to be held in Sochi, Russia.
What followed the news can only be described as domination. The 2011-2012 World Cup season was the first ever held, and the U.S. women stated off with a ein. Supported by Visa and individual benefactors, the team’s momentum continued throughout the winter with American Sarah Hendrickson winning nine of the thirteen World Cup events and being named the World Cup overall champion. Teammates Lindsay Van and Jessica Jerome finished in the top ten overall, and the entire team won the Nation’s Cup, which means that the U.S.A. was cumulatively ranked first in the world.
The bar has been set high. “That’s what we have to live up to this year!” says Whitney Childers of Women’s Ski Jumping U.S.A. about the upcoming 2012-2013 World Cup season. The United States is not known for Nordic events such as ski jumping and cross country skiing, while the field is stacked with athletes from countries with centuries of success in Nordic events. “Americans have to work harder than anyone else,” says Childers. The U.S. women work with a sports psychologist, and instead of caving to the pressure they only seem to get stronger. The intense competition pushes them ever higher.
The 2012-2013 world cup season will begin in Lillehammer, Norway on November 23 and 24th. Lillehammer will be followed by the very first World Cup event at the Sochi, Russia facility. Head Program and Development Coach Alan Alborn puts it this way: “Last season we showed we were the strongest team overall by far,” and set their goal as having “all the ladies be consistent all winter long to win the Nation’s Cup again.”