Sarah Hendrickson concentrates at the start during her comeback weekend at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Lillehammer. (Lilllehammer World Cup)
LILLEHAMMER, Norway (Dec. 3, 2016) - World champion Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT) made a strong return this weekend as she came back after a nearly 15-month absence to the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup. Hendrickson was 11th Friday and eighth Saturday. Japan's Sara Takanashi swept the wins.
Hendrickson had been injured in the summer before the 2014 Olympics. She made several comebacks but took a break after the 2015 season for more follow-up surgery, taking her time to come back as strongly as possible.
"Yesterday was so much fun," said Hendrickson. "I cannot put into words how amazing it felt to be back with a bib on. I honestly thought the day would never come as I wanted to give up so many times."
While she didn't challenge for the podium in her first weekend back, she did jump into the lead in the first round Saturday, stepping into the familiar leader's box for a period of time.
Friday she jumped 84.5 and 90.0 meters. Saturday she stepped it up to 94.5 and 89.0.
Hendrickson's immediate goal is getting comfortable back on the tour and making incremental improvements.
"With an 11th and eighth, I'm really content but hungry for more," she said. "Technically I have some improvements to make so there is space for me to go up the results. The knee held up really well and I'm anxious to get to Russia to compete again!"
The tour now heads to Nizhny Tagil, Russia for a pair of events.