Jumper: Sarah Hendrickson

Town: Park City, Utah

Quote: “Everyday we grow a little bit stronger. If not physically, then mentally and if not mentally, then emotionally. I have accepted that things will not always be fair but I am thankful for these challenges to make me stronger.” – Unknown

About Sarah: Most days, my day started staring at the ceiling asking myself what I was doing. After letting out a deep exhale, I’d push the blankets and start the process to get myself to the gym for the thousandth time in the past year and a half. Like most mornings on my long rehab path, I woke up dreaming about winning gold. Whether it was reflecting about the time I actually did win in World Championships in 2013 or dreaming of the future I am trying to create by winning the next Olympics. For the past three years, knee injuries have defined my name. Or at least that is what it feels like. Seeing old friends around town the first question is always, “How’s the knee? You aren’t hurt again are you?” I usually smile and politely answer but inside a flame burns, frustrated that that is all people know me by.

I learned years ago that life isn’t fair. If you live life constantly comparing to others, then you will fight your way through a sad, endless road. I have many days where I struggle to understand why I had to be the one to experience five knee surgeries and not one of my other competitors. But something that has kept me going is knowing that the toughest battles are meant for the strongest people. These years learning more about myself and surprising myself by the strength I have within. These cards would not be dealt if life did not think that I could overcome them. And with that, I keep pushing. Through the tears, through the pain and through the days believing it will be worth it.

By competing in the first ever Olympic Women’s Ski Jumping event in the Olympic Games in 2014, I feel like my sport and name screams “SheJumps.” With minimal training going into the Games, I was mostly bummed that I would not have more of an impact on the female community without the reality of bringing home gold. I wanted – more than anything – to show little girls that dreams come true. Hard work pays off. Miracles happen. When you have a strong mind, anything can happen.

Sarah Hendrickson 2

My passion for sports started at an early age but for me it is much more than the results. Before ski jumping, I was shy, timid and almost frightened when in public. But today, I am strong, outgoing, helpful and more compassionate than my family ever thought I would become. So to the little girls out there, find your passion. I do not care if it’s skiing, skating, soccer or softball but the ethics and life lessons you learn on the playing field are those that will shape you forever. I want to give girls the opportunity to grow into amazing woman with the help of the outdoors and sport.

Photo: Erik Seo Photography

Photo: Erik Seo Photography

Note: Profile photo credited to Jamophoto Inc © 2012