17-year-old Hendrickson wins first women’s WC

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17-year-old Hendrickson wins first women’s WC

LILLEHAMMER, Norway - American teenager Sarah Hendrickson won the first ever women’s World Cup event on Saturday, dominating the competition by putting down the longest jump in both rounds on the same Lillehammer hill used by the men in the 1994 Winter Olympics.

The 17-year-old Hendrickson was the only jumper to clear 100 meters by leaping 100.5 in the first round to take a comfortable lead. She then jumped 95 meters in the second round to beat French opponent Coline Mattel.

Hendrickson finished with a total of 277 points, while Mattel was second on 247.7. Melanie Faisst of Germany scored 245.5 for third.

“I held it together, and I’m very happy,’’ a smiling Hendrickson said after the race.

Nearly 50 women from 15 countries took part, although American Lindsey Van - who became the sport’s first female world champion in 2009 - missed the inaugural World Cup event because of a hip injury in October.

While the women’s second-tier Continental Cup began seven years ago, Saturday’s competition was another milestone in a long battle to get women’s ski jumping recognized as an elite sport.

The sport was included on the Olympic program for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, after the International Olympic Committee twice rejected it for the 2010 Vancouver program, arguing that it lacked elite competition.

In the men’s event, Austria’s Andreas Kofler won after setting a hill record with a leap of 105 meters in the first round. He jumped 98 meters in the second round, earning a total score of 279.3 points.
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