SAPPORO, Japan — Jessica Jerome and Alissa Johnson shined in Saturday’s World Cup event despite wind and snow conditions that proved challenging for the entire field of 50 jumpers.
Jerome led the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team with a 10th-place finish after jumps of 90 and 87.5 meters. Johnson was 14th, posting her second-best World Cup finish ever. Abby Hughes improved from past World Cups to snag 28th and Lindsey Van missed the top 30 cut for the second round after an unlucky first-round jump in “really difficult conditions”, according to Coach Erik Renmaelmo. Up-and-comer Nita Englund, who was making her World Cup debut, had solid training jumps but didn’t make it past qualification.
Japan’s Sara Takanashi continued her domination with a win. Germany’s Carina Vogt was 2nd and Russia’s Irina Avvakumova was 3rd.
“Today was all over the place in terms of conditions,” Jerome said. “I was able to have much better jumps than training and qualification, and was one of the girls with more stable wind. I am satisfied with today and hope to build on it for Sunday.”
Coach Renmaelmo said it was great to have two jumpers in the top 14, given the difficult wind in the first round and snow in the second.
Johnson has been steadily improving in the past few weeks and building confidence, especially after her 3rd-place performance in the Olympic Team Trials on Dec. 29 in Park City.
“I was really happy and confident about it and I needed this boost. The conditions were a little all over the place today so I was happy to have solid jumps,” Johnson said.
Competition continues Sunday in Sapporo, then the Visa Team heads to Zao, Japan, Jan. 18-19 for the next World Cup event. The Olympic team nominations will be announced Jan. 22. Jerome has already earned a nomination with her Olympic Trials win.
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 Normal Hill women’s event, HS 100
• Jan. 13 – Sapporo, JPN, World Cup
• Jan. 18-19 – Zao, JPN, World Cup
• Jan. 22 – Olympic team nominations