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Sarah Hendrickson, first woman to ski jump at Olympics, retires

Sarah Hendrickson

USA’s Sarah Hendrickson competes in the women’s normal hill individual ski jumping trial for competition event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 12, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / Jonathan NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Sarah Hendrickson, a world champion who in 2014 became the first woman to ski jump at the Olympics, announced her retirement from the sport at age 26.

“My career in the sport of ski jumping has undeniably been a dream come true,” was posted on her Instagram. “I am forever in love with this sport and every opportunity and person it has included. As I step away from being an athlete, my dedication to bettering the sport remains a top priority in my life. I will never be too far from the ski jumping family, as I remain involved politically.”

Hendrickson competed in one World Cup since her second Olympics in 2018, and nowhere internationally since September 2019.

Her career highlights included winning the first women’s World Cup season title in 2012, the world championships in 2013 and then coming back from ACL and MCL tears less than six months before the 2014 Olympics to wear bib No. 1 in the debut of women’s ski jumping in Sochi.

“When I was given the bib number, I didn’t really realize the significance of it, that I was the first girl ever to jump in an Olympic event,” she said. “That’s something special to grasp onto. I’m proud of that.”

She finished 21st and 19th in her two Olympic appearances, coming back for PyeongChang after four more knee surgeries.

Hendrickson remains the most recent American ski jumper to make a World Cup podium, her last coming in 2015.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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