PARK CITY, UT — Ten-year-old Zia Terry is a star on YouTube simply because she showed the world her courage by soaring off a 40-meter ski jump. On Thursday, she got to meet some of her biggest fans — five members of the No. 1-ranked U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping Team.
The team and coaches surprised Zia at Utah Olympic Park where they named her an “Honorary Junior Team Member” and gave her a Women’s Ski Jumping USA certificate, team jacket, signed competition bib, Ready To Fly DVD, and signed posters.
“This is so cool. I love this. I love ski jumping,” said Zia after meeting the team.
Zia’s headcam video showing herself gaining the courage and determination to ski jump the 40-meter hill for the first time went viral on YouTube and has garnered 1.3 million views. Many have commented on the video and didn’t believe that girls could ski jump. Zia proved them wrong, and she now has the backing of the best women ski jumpers in the world.
“We just want to thank Zia for bringing worldwide attention to girls who ski jump,” said Jessica Jerome, an eight-time national champion and the ninth-ranked ski jumper in the world. “She has inspired us and obviously her video has touched so many people around the world.”
Zia told the crowd and media at Thursday’s event that she loves flight and especially ski jumping “because you can fly in the air without an engine.” The Park City fourth-grader also has aspirations to be an Olympian some day as either a ski jumper or ski racer — to which 2009 World Champion Lindsey Van said, “Ski jumping! That’s your sport.”
After a 10-year battle, women will finally be allowed to ski jump beginning in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Ski jumping had been the only discipline in the Winter Games that did not have an event for women. The ski jumpers’ story is told in the recently released feature film documentary, “Ready To Fly.”
Zia also got a little advice from 17-year-old Sarah Hendrickson, who just finished the World Cup season by capturing the overall title and bringing home the coveted crystal globe. “Keep working on ski jumping — it’s awesome. I was 13 years old when I tried the 90-meter jump. You can do it too — you’re just three years away,” Hendrickson said.
The presentation ended with a group hug with Zia in the middle surrounded by her mentors — and new “teammates”.
The Visa Women’s Ski Jumping team includes No. 1-ranked Sarah Hendrickson, 2009 World Champion Lindsey Van, 8-time U.S. National Champion Jessica Jerome, Abby Hughes, Alissa Johnson, Nita Englund, Nina Lussi and Emilee Anderson. The team coaches are Alan Alborn and Paolo Bernardi.
Watch Zia’s YouTube Video:
Watch CNN’s Jeanne Moos’ story on Zia’s video and Lindsey Van: