Hendrickson plans return after historic leap

Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:44am EST
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By Keith Weir

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - American teenager Sarah Hendrickson wants another shot at Olympic gold in 2018 after making history as the first woman ski jumper to compete at the Winter Games.

"This is the beginning of a journey through hopefully at least one more Olympics, if not two," the world champion told Reuters.

Hendrickson, whose preparations were hampered by a knee injury, finished 21st in the normal hill competition on Tuesday, with the gold medal going to Germany's Carina Vogt.

"I loved competing yesterday and it's weird to have it be done and over, I just want more," she added.

For Hendrickson and the women ski jump rivals who followed her down the ramp, the Olympics really were as much about taking part as winning after a long fight to compete at the Games.

For years they were told the sport was too risky, that there were too few top-class women competitors, or even that the impact of landing could damage their fertility.

A group of U.S., Canadian and European women fought an unsuccessful lawsuit for the right to compete at the last Olympics in 2010 before the IOC eventually allowed them to compete in Sochi, Russia's first Winter Games.

"I think we blew the crowd away and blew the world away that our level of competition was so high," said Hendrickson, part of   Continued...

Sarah Hendrickson of the U.S. soars through the air in her trial jump during the women's ski jumping individual normal hill event of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center in Rosa Khutor, February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach