Women Ski Jumpers Play with Wind

February 23, 2011

OSLO, Norway – The USA’s women’s ski jumpers played around with the wind Wednesday in a training round on the Midstubakken 106-meter jump at Holmenkollen. On Friday, American Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) will seek to defend her title, starting with four other teammates in the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Oslo.

Winds on the normal hill jump were tricky Wednesday. Van had the longest ride for the Americans at 97.5 meters on her third jump. Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) was also strong with a 96.5.

But the day was ruled by 14-year old Japanese Sara Takanashi, who went over 100 meters on each of her three jumps including a pair at 102.5 to lead all three rounds.

Friday’s World Championship will employ a relatively new protocol using wind measurement to adjust scores. The system, which has been actively used in nordic combined jumping the past few seasons, will be put in place for the women.

“The wind points system is in place to try to make it fairer for all of us,” said Jerome.”It’s a good idea, I think, and it definitely helps. However, it’s not a perfect system quite yet. That said, we are prepared to jump in any kind of conditions.”

Jerome and her teammates got good use out of the training day to become familiar with the jump and wind conditions.

“Today was just another training day for me,” added Jerome. “As far as my jumps went, it wasn’t anything amazing and not all I was hoping. But I’m staying confident and hope to fix some things before we train again tomorrow.”

The massive Holmenkollen complex was in a fevered pitch Wednesday with final preparations. But the spirit of the Championships was clearly taking over cold and snowy Oslo.

“The atmosphere here is really exciting and I am really looking forward to the event Friday,” said Alissa Johnson (Park City, UT). “Everywhere you look it’s Nordic World Ski Championships. You always have an idea in your mind what it’s going to be like, and then you see it and it’s real.”

The women will continue training at Midstubakken Thursday before the competition Friday at 3:00 p.m. Oslo time. Five U.S. women including Van, Jerome, Johnson plus Abby Hughes and Sarah Hendrickson (both Park City, UT) will start.

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