Van rallies to lead team in second Sapporo World Cup

SAPPORO, Japan — Lindsey Van finished 5th in an impressive comeback in the second round of Sunday’s World Cup event to lead the U.S. women, who posted three in the top 15.

Lindsey Van

Lindsey Van

Jessica Jerome continued her streak of top-10 performances with a 7th place and Alissa Johnson snagged her second 14th in a row. Sara Takanashi, of Japan, won her 6th World Cup event of the season. Coline Mattel, of France, was 2nd and Irina Avvakumova, of Russia, was 3rd.

Van was 14th after the first round and then jumped 93 meters in the second round to climb to the 5th spot. That jump marked the second longest of the day behind Takanashi who jumped 97 meters in the first round.

“I had better luck than Saturday for sure,” Van said. “The timing was better, and I was just focusing on one jump at a time.” Van didn’t make the second round in Saturday’s comp after an unlucky first-round jump in challenging weather conditions, according to Coach Erik Renmaelmo.

Jerome notched her third top 10 of the season.

“Today there was more stable wind conditions, although it was snowing harder,” Jerome said. “I have been pretty consistent and I am gradually competing better each time.”  

Renmaelmo said he was very satisfied with Sunday’s results and credited the experience of his top three for pushing through tough weather conditions.

This was a good day. I think experience and the ability to trust that you can do things as normal when the conditions are difficult is a factor,” he said. “But it also helps when you have several jumps in a row that are of good quality.

“It was an impressive comeback for Lindsey and Alissa, and Jessica delivered consistent performances,” Renmaelmo said.

Abby Hughes, who broke the top 30 on Saturday to finish 28th, had a tough first jump Sunday and failed to make the second round. Nita Englund, making her World Cup debut in Sapporo, qualified for the event but didn’t get past the first round.

World Cup competition continues next weekend in Zao, Japan (Jan. 18-19). The Olympic team nominations will be announced Jan. 22. Jerome has already earned a nomination with her Olympic Trials win.

Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 Normal Hill women’s event, HS 100
See full results:

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 Normal Hill women’s event, HS 100
See full results:

• Jan. 18-19 – Zao, JPN, World Cup
• Jan. 22 – Olympic team nominations