Park City Olympian ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson retires
PARK CITY, Utah. — As this ski season winds down, Sarah Hendrickson has announced her retirement from ski jumping. Hendrickson, 26, was born and raised in Park City, and was among the first athletes, male or female, to jump at what was then the Utah Winter Sports Park (now called Utah Olympic Park).
Placing 19th in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games and simply being allowed to represent her country and her gender in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games top her competition highlights, she said.
“My career in the sport of ski jumping has undeniably been a dream come true,” Hendrickson said on Facebook. “I am forever in love with this sport and every opportunity and person it has included. As I step away from being an athlete, my dedication to better the sports remains a priority in my life. I will never be too far from the ski jumping family as I plan to stay politically involved. Thank you to the MANY people that made it all possible. My success was fueled by the community, sponsors, coaches, doctors, physical therapists, fans, friends and family. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”
Serving as a member of the Federation International de Ski (FIS) Athletes’ Commission has sparked her continued interest in what she refers to as the ‘politics’ of sport, she said. She jumped in Germany in 2018 in what would become her final world cup competition and in Austria at a continental cup in 2019.
As a teenager, Hendrickson burst onto the international ski jumping circuit in 2012 by first earning her stripes at the jr. world championships. Prior to that, in 2011, she put the ski jumping community on notice by winning the US championship title. Appearances like those illustrate why she was the recipient of the prestigious Utah State of Sport in 2014.
Going on to win 13 total world cups wasn’t easy as women had to battle in the courts just for the opportunity to compete alongside their male counterparts at the Olympic level. Hendrickson has been on the podium 25 times including the first-ever overall world cup title in women’s ski jumping in the 2011-12 season. She was also World Champion in 2013 in Italy.
Knee surgery is one struggle Hendrickson has dealt with throughout her athletic journey, a journey made a little more familiar with her brother Nick out traveling internationally too, as the nordic combined team director for the Park City based USA Nordic.
On any given week up at the UOP, youth athletes are ski jumping, some in literally the same little suits that she jumped in, training to follow in the footsteps of their hometown hero, Hendrickson.