Before the women ski jumpers make history in their event at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, leaders at Women’s Ski Jumping USA and parents of the US team members reflected on the fight for inclusion:
“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 because we were really fighting for all women in all sports and hopefully all aspects of life. Hopefully we have taught other girls and other 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 and you can achieve your dreams. So go for it. That’s what we hope.
Now we have to work on 2018 getting women on the large hill and a team event. As soon as Sochi is over we start working on that.”
– DeeDee Corradini – President of Women’s Ski Jumping USA
“No one handed this to them. Being good at this didn’t get (these women) to where they are tonight. They had to show just an incredible amount of stick-to-itiveness back in the day when there wasn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They were jumping as much as they could because they loved the sport and there was no reward other than the personal satisfaction of competing with their peers, challenging themselves and doing well.
I think this particular group of women, as well as the women that went before them, and there are women who went before them who aren’t here tonight – it just never happened for them, they’re in their early 30’s now, mid-30’s – Eva Ganster from Austria, some of the real pioneers – and it just took such a long time for this to happen that they had to move on. But the girls who are here tonight I would say are some of the most tenacious, persistent, dedicated athletes in the world.”
– Peter Jerome – father of Jessica Jerome and founder of WSJUSA
“Personally I was thrilled because (big brother) Nick (Hendrickson) had already started to jump, and Sarah would just hang out, get cold and wonder, ‘Mom, when is Nick ever going to be finished jumping.’ Finally one day she says, ‘Can I just try that?’ I said, ‘Sure what the heck.’ That was in 2002 when the Olympics were in Salt Lake, and she hasn’t stopped since so it’s all Nick’s fault.”
– Nancy Hendrickson – commenting on daughter Sarah starting to jump as a kid
“I think there’s this preconceived notion that men and braver than women. And it takes a lot of guts and a lot of confidence for these women to go off these big ski jumps. Of course they started young … but I think they dispelled that myth that only men are brave enough to go off these big jumps.”
– Bill Hendrickson – Sarah Hendrickson’s dad