October 25, 2011 – Women’s Ski Jumping USA has nominated eight of the top women athletes in the nation to represent the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team in one of the most historic seasons ever for the sport. Jessica Jerome, Lindsey Van, Sarah Hendrickson, Alissa Johnson and Abby Hughes (all of Park City, UT) will make up the Visa Team. Nita Englund (Florence, WI), Nina Lussi (Lake Placid, NY) and Emilee Anderson (Eau Claire, WI) will represent the Visa Development Team.
Women’s ski jumping makes its debut on the International Ski Federation World Cup circuit this winter, which means better ski jumping venues and more international support and broadcast time for the events. Also, the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, AUT, in January will be the first International Olympic Committee-sanctioned event to include women’s ski jumping on the program.
Alan Alborn, WSJ-USA head coach, said team members have worked hard this summer in preparation for the season and believes they have gained strength not only physically and technically, but mentally as well.
“The World Cup season will push them to their limits and I believe that we have the strongest team in the world,” Alborn said.
To make the Visa Team, the jumpers had to meet criteria including performance benchmarks on last year’s Continental Cup. Development team nominations are per the coaches’ discretion and the athletes have to be junior-level status.
“The World Cup is something bigger compared to the Continental Cup and it will present a new challenge even for the most experienced athletes,” said WSJ-USA International Coach Paolo Bernardi, who will be traveling with the Visa Team. “I want to make that challenge and the new atmosphere a plus for their performance.”
There will be 14 competitions on the women’s World Cup (WC) circuit, including stops in Germany, Italy, Poland, Austria, Slovenia and Japan. The WC opener is Dec. 3 in Lillehammer, NOR and the season ends March 9, 2012, in Oslo, NOR on the Midstubakken hill, the same venue that hosted the 2011 World Ski Jumping Championships.
Also this year, Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van have met U.S. Ski Team criteria to receive some support and access to elite athlete resources offered through the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association in addition to the primary support they receive from WSJ-USA.
2012 Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team Nomination
- Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT
- Lindsey Van, Park City, UT
- Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT
- Abby Hughes, Park City, UT
- Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT
- Nita Englund, Park City, UT
- Nina Lussi, Lake Placid, NY,
- Emilee Anderson, Eau Claire, WI
Fifteen-year-old Emilee Anderson, of Eau Clair, WI, will represent the U.S. and the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event held under the authority of the International Olympic Committee that will take place every four years, consistent with the current format of the Olympic Winter Games. The Innsbruck Games will run from Jan. 13-22, with an expected 1,057 athletes between the ages of 14-18 from more than 80 countries participating.
Anderson won her spot on the team through a qualifying competition at the Flaming Leaves Festival ski jumping competition in Lake Placid, NY, in October.
Anderson started ski jumping when she was 5, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Elisabeth, a former jumper who now attends Westminster College in Salt Lake City. “My sister stuck with it and did so good and I wanted to be able to do that,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s longest jump so far of her young career is 86.5 meters on a K90 jump. While she travels many weekends for competitions, she’s never been to Europe to compete.
“It’s a really big honor for me (to go to the Youth Games),” she said. “It’s one of my goals and a dream come true.”
Julie Anderson, Emilee’s mother, said she’s excited for her daughter to be part of something so historic. “This is so important because women’s ski jumping is finally a legitimized Olympic event now and Emilee has a big responsibility to represent that well.”
According to the IOC, the Youth Olympic Games aim to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect. It will create a lasting sport, culture and education legacy for youth from around the world, as well as enhance and elevate the sporting culture locally and regionally.
“I’ve watched her come up for the past two years and Emilee has gained confidence and increased her technique on the hill,” said WSJ-USA Head Coach Alan Alborn. “We’re excited for her to be part of this team.”