In tonight’s optional practice-jump at run at the RusSki Gorki Center, where women’s ski jumping will make its Olympic debut, all three Americans turned in jumps that were scored among the top 15 of the 30 competitors.
As expected, Japan’s Sara Takanashi was first. The American trio of Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van—all of Park City, Utah—were scored fifth, 12th and 14th respectively.
Scores are computed based on distance and style, with adjustments made for the precise wind at the time of the jump.
Athletes’ placements in the practice jumps have no bearing on the starting order or medal standings.
The competition gets under way shortly, at 9:30 p.m. local time, with the first of two jumps.
Earlier Tuesday evening, the parents of two of the U.S. jumpers—Hendrickson and Jerome—met with reporters about their daughters’ long campaign to convince the International Skiing Federation and the International Olympic Committee to add women’s ski jumping to the Winter Games.
Also taking part was Deedee Corradini, former Park City mayor and president of Women’s Ski Jumping USA, the non-profit organization started by Peter Jerome, Jessica’s daughter, which has led the long-running campaign for Olympic status.
“I think our battle to get the women into ski jumping became much more than ski jumping; it really became a women’s rights issue and a human rights issue,” Corradini said. “We were really fighting for all women in all sports and, hopefully, all aspects of life. Hopefully we have taught other young girls and young women around the world that if you really are persistent and never give up, fight hard–hopefully you don’t have to fight, but if you do, fight fairly and well—then you can achieve your dreams.”
The women will do two jumps on the normal hill (K-95); the scores will be added together to determine the medal winners.