Right before the Junior Worlds in Erzurum, Ladies-Skijumping.com editor Stefan Diaz talked to Sarah Hendrickson about traveling Europe, jumping, her goals for these Championsips and of course about the World Cup.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Sarah, you are in Europe now since the beginning of January. Are you already a little homesick?
Sarah Hendrickson: I definitely thought it would be worse. Being away from home for two and half months is not an easy thing to do at the age of 17, although I am doing well. I miss the little things like my own bed and home cooked meals, but the team has been good and we have had a ton of fun over the past weeks.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Were you only traveling from jumping hill to jumping hill, or did you also have the chance to see some sights or cities?
Hendrickson: Mostly hill to hill, but we tried to stop along the way to see some tourist things. We got to go skiing in Italy and go to big cites to look around, which I love. Its always a bummer to travel the world and not be able to see anything other than the ski jump.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: What was your favorite place on this trip to Europe?
Hendrickson: Although it was really cold, I really liked Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Hearing that will make the many Slovenian readers of our website happy, I guess. Because of your success many people forget, that you are still attending school. How do you combine that with the long time abroad?
Hendrickson: I go to school in the summer so I can travel and compete all winter. I tried to do school and jumping both in the winter last year, and it didn’t end well. I like focusing on school in the summer, so I can travel all winter.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: But you still have enough time for training in the summer?
Hendrickson: Yes, the summer is really long so even if I miss some, its doable.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Did you do the same training program in the last summer as always, or did you change something?
Hendrickson: We got three new coaches, including a strength coach that we have never had before. We had very organized and specific programs throughout the spring and summer.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Did you think you could be so superior, before the season started?
Hendrickson: Going into Lillehammer, I had no idea what to expect. I knew I was jumping well, but I didn’t know how that would compare to the other girls.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Not only the American team, but also many other nations changed their coaches before this first World Cup season and did a lot of things to professionalize the teams. How does the strength of the whole field feel for you? How hard is it now to win, compared to the past?
Hendrickson: I think a lot of teams realized how big this season was and wanted to get more professional and serious. The field of girls is really strong on the World Cup circuit and all the World Cups are very very close. It is not easy to win, especially with the pressure, you have to have two good jumps to win.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: In the overall World Cup you are 211 points ahead of Daniela Iraschko and there are four more competitions to come. How do you rate your chances to eventually win the cup?
Hendrickson: Yes, four competitions are enough to be beat by Danie and the others. I have to stay strong and mentally stay tough for the next four comps.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Three of these four World Cups will be in Zao. It that a hill that suits you?
Hendrickson: I have only been there once, but I didn’t jump well. However, last time in Ljubno I didn’t jump well either so we will have to see.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Before the World Cup continues, there are now the Junior Worlds in Erzurum. How important are these championships for you now, as there is a World Cup?
Hendrickson: They are still very important. As a junior, this is my most important competition of the year.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Even more important than a deciding competition for the overall World Cup?
Hendrickson: Yes it is more important. It’s a World Championship event, therefore my main focus.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: I wish you a lot of luck for that and also for the World Cup. Thanks a lot for that nice interview!
Hendrickson: Thank you.