OSLO, Norway – Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) led U.S. women’s ski jumpers in a thick as pea soup fog that proved unnerving for many as the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo hit day two with the women’s jumping event. Gusty winds engaged the athletes in a battle of wills against Mother Nature. Jerome was 14th.
Defending World Champion Lindsey Van (Park City, UT), who had been strong in training, jumped short in the first round and failed to make the top 30 cut.
Held at the famed 106-meter Midstubakken normal hill, the massive crowd of over 10,000 could not see the flyers until they hit the outrun. Instead, all eyes, were viewing the big screen in the finish. Yet neither the fog, nor even a bit of rain, seemed to deter the best women’s ski jumpers in the world from putting on an amazing display of athleticism in challenging conditions.
It was the second time for women’s ski jumping in the World Championships. And, once again, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was keeping close watch for possible inclusion in 2014. International Ski Federation President Gian Franco Kasper expressed his optimism that the IOC will decide favorably. A total of 43 athletes from 15 nations took part – a big jump from 2009.
Austrian jumping legend Daniela Iraschko, back from an injury that sidelined her for two weeks, leapt to a pair of 97 meter jumps to take the win with style points all in the 18’s. Silver went to Italian Elena Runggaldier, while World Junior Champion Coline Mattel of France took bronze.
Jerome was off the pace in the first round with an 84 meter jump but followed it up with an improved 90 meter ride to place 14th.
Jerome echoed the sentiments of many jumpers by noting, “The weather was not amazing. For the last three days we’ve been training well with good weather. Unfortunately, on the day that it counted, it wasn’t the best. I didn’t do what I am capable of.”
After the first round, Alissa Johnson (Park City, UT) stood seventh with a jump of 91 meters. But her second jump came in short at 81 meters dropping her to 20th. Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT) had a first round jump of 90.5 meters and added an 84 meter ride that put her in 16th.
“It’s about as hard as it could get for any jumper today,” Johnson said. “Conditions like this are everywhere but you can’t do anything about the weather. Every jump I have taken on this hill has gotten progressively better and I felt really relaxed. I was happy with my first jump. I didn’t, by any means, expect to be in the top 10. My last jump wasn’t awesome, but I am still happy to be here.”
The reigning World Champion from Liberec in 2009, Van had a first round jump of 75 meters, which failed to qualify her for a second ride.
“I caught a wicked sidewind on my jump,” said Van.
Competition at the World Championships continues Saturday with the opening nordic combined event and the women’s 15k pursuit.
FIS World Nordic Ski Championships
Oslo, Norway – Feb. 25, 2011
Gold: Daniela Iraschko, Austria, (97.0, 97.0), 231.7
Silver: Elena Runggaldier, Italy, (97.5, 93.5), 218.9
Bronze: Coline Mattel, France, (92.0, 97.0), 211.5
14. Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT, (84.0, 90.0), 177.8
16. Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT, (90.5, 84.0), 177.0
20. Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT, (91.0, 81.0), 169.0
24. Abby Hughes, Park City, UT, (86.5, 83.0), 156.5
34. Lindsey Van, Park City, UT, (75.0), 61.4
For complete results: www.fis-ski.com