Ski jumping made me who I am today

By Lindsey Van - 2009 World Champion

I started ski jumping at the age of 7, and have been jumping for 22 years now. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of through ski jumping. I love jumping, and that has always kept my interest. It wasn't always easy, but the hard parts made me appreciate the best parts even more.

Lindsey Van with former jumper and current judge Blair Tomten in Sochi, Russia.

Lindsey Van with former jumper and current judge Blair Tomten in Sochi, Russia.

When I started ski jumping I was one of the only girls and I trained mostly with boys. There weren't many competitions that had a women's class, so I competed with the boys until I was 17 years old. The International Ski Federation had a few competitions a year, but it wasn't until 2004 that the women were given their own Continental Cup tour, and in 2012 a World Cup tour. The women had their first official World Championships in 2009 and our first Olympics in 2014. I was a part of all these competitions and it is awesome to see how far the sport has come since I first started.

Throughout my ski jumping career I have learned that I can do things people never thought I could. I was told many times that women would never be in the Olympics, World Championships, or go Ski Flying. I have done all of that, and proved all those people wrong along the way. I proved to myself that if I wanted something bad enough it was possible. I followed my heart and my heart kept saying keep jumping and fight for the things our sport deserves.

It was not an easy or fast process, but I kept working and stayed focused. Our sport has come so far and now there are more and more women jumpers around the world. I can look back now and feel very proud and satisfied that I kept ski jumping and trying to push the sport forward. It has made me who I am today and has given me the confidence to do whatever I want in my life. Not only is ski jumping so much fun, but it taught me skills that will allow me to pursue future endeavors with confidence.

Women's Ski Jumping USA

Women’s Ski Jumping USA, a 501c3 nonprofit, is the primary support organization for the U.S. National Team. With the help of a small staff and lots of generous volunteers, the organization runs the U.S. women’s ski jumping program and raises the necessary funds to pay for coaching, travel, training, equipment and a junior developmental program.