17 | Ski Jumping | Park City, Utah
ACHIEVEMENTS: In 2011, the inaugural season of women's World Cup ski jumping, 5'3", 95-pound Sarah Hendrickson made a big mark. She won the World Cup opener last December in Lillehammer and then the overall season title with nine wins in 13 events. The top-ranked ski jumper in the world and the youngest skier ever named to the U.S. ski team in a Nordic sport (at age 14 in '09), Sarah is a senior at the Winter Sports School in Park City.
FIRST STEPS: Sarah was just two years old the first time she put on skis, so tiny that she was barely able to lift her skis and boots off the snow. "She has a confidence that comes out of not even remembering learning how to ski," says her dad, Bill.
EVOKES: 2002 and '06 Olympian Clint Jones. "They have the same gifts," says Alan Alborn, head coach of the No. 1--ranked U.S. women's ski jumping team. "They're just natural athletes and have the same mental toughness."
COACH'S COMMENT: Alborn has worked full-time with Sarah for the past year but first coached her when she was 12. "[Sarah] was quiet in person, but when you saw her in action, it was pretty impressive," he says. "She stood out of the crowd with her level of talent and awareness."
WHAT'S NEXT: Women's ski jumping will debut at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, and Sarah will be one to watch.
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