Weather, Conditions in Zao, Japan and Falun, Sweden Create Challenges for the U.S. Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team

Park City, UT – The U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping Team faced challenging conditions, with numerous delays and cancellations, during the both the World Cup competition in Zao, Japan and the Continental Cup competition in Falun, Sweden this weekend.

Jessica Jerome, a veteran member of the National Team, took 10th place with a jump of 91.5 meters and 104.8 points. Carina Vogt of Germany won the competition, soaring 99.0 meters and scoring 117.7 points. The remainder of the team placed in the bottom half of the field of 48 competitors.

"Although the conditions were far from ideal, I'm glad that we were able to get at least one jump in," said Jerome. "I am happy with my top 10 because I had a better jump than last week. Hopefully we will have more stable conditions in Europe."

“We had another windy competition in Japan this weekend, but were at least able to have one jump,” said travel coach, Vasja Bajc. “We are hoping for a make-up competition in Oberstdorf or Hinzenbach later this month. I am happy with Jessica [Jerome]’s performance, although a better landing would place her in the top six amongst the competitors. Nina [Lussi] and Tara [Geraghty-Moats] had a difficult time because the track was not sliding at a normal speed. We hope that our training camp in Seefeld next week will provide an opportunity for them to re-build their self-confidence and improve their technique. Nita [Englund]’s jump was acceptable with a small mistake at take-off under weak wind conditions. She is showing that she belongs in the top 15 of the world. Sarah did not perform at her level due to some confidence and technical issues. She could easily be in the top 3 if she concentrates on these matters. A lot of work is waiting for us in the next week and I hope we will be lucky with our decisions before the next World Cup.”

Nita Englund reiterated the challenges that the team faced. “It was a long weekend of waiting, but it was a good experience to figure out how to prepare when the conditions are not ideal,” she commented. “My first jump was not ideal--the tailwind combined with a late jump made it difficult to go very far. My second jump was better because I felt very relaxed and ready. Although the second round was canceled, I finished the weekend with a good feeling for the upcoming competitions in Europe.”

Meanwhile, similar delays and conditions provided challenges in Falun, Sweden where three U.S. Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team members were competing in the third and fourth Continental Cup competitions of the season. In the third competition, Abby Hughes placed third with jumps of 79.0 and 76.0 meters and 178.9 points. Norwegian jumper Anette Sagen won the competition with jumps of 87.0 and 85.0 meters and 206.3 points. Hughes placed sixth in the second competition with two jumps of 79.0 meters each and 170.0 points. Team-mate Logan Sankey came 11th out of the field of 18 competitors with jumps of 72.0 and 76.5 meters. Taylor Henrich of Canada took first place with jumps of 87.0 and 93.0 meters and 221.0 points.

Although the team arrived in Falun on Wednesday morning, they were not able to jump until Sunday due to strong winds that prevailed throughout the week. “It has been really fun to be with Logan [Sankey] and Emilee [Anderson] and have Lindsey [Van] as a coach,” said Hughes. “However, it is pretty frustrating when we have to keep waiting and warming up and then have to wait again. However, today was probably the most fair competition I have experienced in a while. Because our official training and comp on Friday and Saturday were both postponed, we only had one jump to become accustomed to the hill. Although I know I can jump better, it felt great to be back with a bib on after double knee surgery six months ago and a full year without international competition. I am looking forward to gaining more confidence when I to go to World Cup next weekend and get more training jumps in the next few days. My knees are feeling okay and with each jump there is less and less pain so I’m happy about that.”

Logan Sankey said, “I had a great time competing in my first international competition! It was unfortunate that it was windy and we couldn't jump the first two days, but today was beautiful and calm. I was happy with how I jumped and know what to do to improve. I'm excited to train over the next couple weeks with coach Lindsey Van in preparation for the Junior Worlds in Kazakhstan.”

The athletes will next compete in the World Cup competition in Oberstdorf, Germany on January 24 and 25, 2015.

> Full Results: Zao, Japan

> Full Results: Falun, Sweden