LJUBNO, Slovenia — With top World Cup results this weekend in Ljubno, the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team is more confident than ever heading into World Championships this week in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
The U.S. women placed five in the top 13 in Saturday’s event, one of their strongest performances as a team all season. Japan’s Sara Takanashi had a double victory to secure the overall World Cup title –with two events still remaining this season.
“I am sure we are ready for World Championships right now,” said Coach Paolo Bernardi. “We are ready for every single jump.”
Sarah Hendrickson posted a 2nd and 3rd on a difficult, old style hill that many ski jumpers regularly refer to as the “roller coaster.” Jessica Jerome continued to build on her recent successes with a 6th and 7th. Lindsey Van stayed true to her consistent ways with a 5th and 8th. Alissa Johnson (12th and 19th) and Abby Hughes (13th and 22nd) were also strong.
“Ljubno is not my hill typically. I tend to struggle here,” Hendrickson said. “But today, technically my takeoff was good and I’m very confident and satisfied with that, especially on my final jump today (Sunday).”
Bernardi said the Ljubno jump is one of a kind, “…a really old hill and you still need to use a lot of power. We know our team is well-trained and powerful and can handle the days when there is strong wind here.”
Jerome said she feels a lot more confident in her jumping than she did a month ago.
“There are some small technicalities that I need to fix and I’m looking forward to working on that,” she said. “I’m very optimistic as we head into World Champs.”
The 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships get under way on Wednesday with the Opening Ceremonies. The women’s individual ski jumping event is Friday, Feb. 22, and the mixed team event is Sunday, Feb. 24.
Val di Fiemme is the hometown of Coach Bernardi, and he’s hosted the team there for two training camps in the past year.
“I think we know the Val di Fiemme hill better than some of the other teams going into World Championships,” Jerome said. “It’s a great hill and you can jump far on a good day. But it is notorious for tailwind, which we definitely don’t want.”
A contingent of family, friends and supporters are making the trek to Italy for the event — familiar faces welcomed wholeheartedly by the ski jumpers, who have been on the road competing for weeks.
“We are all excited and looking forward to see all of our friends and family. They will be a big boost for us,” Jerome said.
With just two World Cup events remaining in the season, the U.S. team leads the Nations Cup race with 1,905 points. Slovenia, sitting in 2nd with 1,833 points, is closing the gap. Japan is in 3rd with 1,741 points.
The final two World Cup events are in Norway — Trondheim on March 15 and Oslo on March 17.
World Cup Ljubno, Slovenia
Women’s Normal Hill – HS95
(with wind system calculation)
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013
1. Sara Takanashi, JPN, (89.5 meters, 92) 266.9
2. Coline Mattel, FRA, (87, 87) 243.3
3. Sarah Hendrickson, USA, (85.5, 88) 241.8
5. Lindsev Van, USA, (86, 86) 236.9
7. Jessica Jerome, USA, (81, 82) 235.1
19. Alissa Johnson, USA (81, 82) 213.8
22. Abby Hughes, USA (80, 82.5) 213.2
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013
1. Sara Takanashi, JPN, (88.5 meters, 88) 225.1
2. Sarah Hendrickson, USA, (85, 83.5) 214.2
3. Coline Mattel, FRA, (84, 84) 212.1
6. Jessica Jerome, USA, (82, 82.5) 201.9
8. Lindsev Van, USA, (81.5, 79.5) 197.8
12. Alissa Johnson, USA (78, 79.5) 189.2
13. Abby Hughes, USA (77.5, 79.5) 187.8