Sarah Hendrickson’s attempt at competing in the first women's ski jumping competition at the Olympics is going to fall short.
Hendrickson, a 19-year-old American, is skiing on a surgically-repaired right knee and during her training competitions in Sochi things haven’t been right.
On Sunday, Hendrickson asked for a lower gate than her fellow competitors. The idea is to take some of the pressure of her knee by reducing her speed, but it also ensures that she won’t be able to jump as far as her competition.
It also makes the prospect of competing for a medal during Tuesday’s final virtually impossible.
"My coach and I decided," Hendrickson said. "I still have pain in my knee. There's no need to jump too far. I don't want to sacrifice anything."
Five months ago, Hendrickson crashed during a training session and suffered a torn ACL and MCL. She also tore most of her meniscus. She had surgery on Aug. 29 and was named to the Olympic team at the end of January.
Hendrickson said it’s not just the pain that’s holding her back, but also the thought of injuring herself again, especially so early in her career.
“I have this in the back of my head," Hendrickson said. "I know I can get injured again, but I have to push it out of my head.”
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