U.S. women’s team posts 3 in top 10 in both Zao comps

ZAO, Japan — With adverse weather forcing organizers to host a pair of World Cup competitions on Sunday after Saturday’s opener was postponed, the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team placed three in the top 10 in both events.  The team was led by World Cup overall title contender Sarah Hendrickson and Jessica Jerome, returning to form on a hill where she’s enjoyed success in the past.

Hendrickson was 3rd and 4th on the same hill in which she won a pair of World Cups last year. Jerome posted her two best back-to-back results so far this season with a 5th and 6th. Lindsey Van struggled a bit with consistency, but still pulled out a 7th and 8th. Abby Hughes posted a strong 16th and 20th.

Japan's Sara Takanashi swept both events, and Austria's Jacqueline Seifriedsberger snagged both 2nd places.

"Because of all the snow and wind, we were all really glad that the comp was canceled yesterday (Saturday) even though that meant we would have two comps in one day,” Jerome said. “Today was great and we were able to get off four jumps with no problem at all."

Jerome has been working to refine her in-run position, recently training in Norway during a break in the World Cup.

“It was a really good day,” Jerome said. “I think that I had the conditions on my side today, but aside from that I've been making improvements on my in-run and it felt really good to put two jumps together and make it work.”

Hendrickson, who secured her overall World Cup title last year while competing in Zao, is currently second to Takanashi in the points race this season. Japanese media came out in swarms to cover the much-hyped “Battle of the Sarah’s” campaign and Hendrickson has been taking it all in stride.

“I know it’s just part of what comes with competition,” Hendrickson has said. “Sara is an incredible jumper and it’s great to get this attention for our sport.” 

The U.S. women’s team has been without Head World Cup Coach Paolo Bernardi, who lost his mother after a long-term illness and had to leave Japan. He’s slated to be back with the team next weekend for World Cup events in Ljubno, Slovenia.

“For our team it was not an easy week … but right now I am really happy about my result," Hendrickson said. “We were jumping for Paolo these past two weekends. We’ve been thinking about him.”

In Bernardi’s absence, several other coaches on the tour stepped up to help train and represent the team members.

“Because of the circumstances, it worked out well,” Jerome said. “We really want to give a huge shout-out to Canadian coach Gregor Linsig and Norwegian coaches Marius Rostad and Christian Meyer.”

World Cup competition continues Feb. 16-17 in Ljubno, Slovenia. Then team then heads to Val di Fiemme, Italy, for the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships. The women’s individual event is Feb. 22 and the mixed team event is Feb. 24.

World Cup Zao, Japan
Women’s Normal Hill – HS100
(with wind system calculation)

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 (First Competition)

1. Sara Takanashi, JPN, (96.5 meters, 93.5) 228
2. Jacqueline Seifriedsberger, AUT, (88, 92.5) 212
3. Carina Vogt, GER, (89, 85) 207.1
4. Sarah Hendrickson, USA, (88, 85) 205.4
5. Jessica Jerome, USA, (86, 88.5) 197.5
7. Lindsev Van, USA, (87.5, 82) 188.9
20. Abby Hughes, USA (81.5, 84.5) 176.1

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013  (Second Competition)

1. Sara Takanashi, JPN, (102 meters, 94) 240.4
2. Jacqueline Seifriedsberger, AUT, (96, 92.5) 229.4
3. Sarah Hendrickson, USA, (93, 92) 222.6
6. Jessica Jerome, USA, (88, 87.5) 197.8
8. Lindsev Van, USA, (85, 86.5) 193.4
16. Abby Hughes, USA (83, 84.5) 182.6