With women's ski jumping set to make its Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games next month, U.S. medal chances got a boost Tuesday with the announcement that reigning world champion Sarah Hendrickson has returned to training.
Hendrickson underwent knee surgery in late August and was considered a long shot to be healthy in time for Sochi.
"The feeling of that first jump back was one of the best sensations in the entire world," she said after a practice session in Park City, Utah. "All my nerves simply disappeared. My knee feels very good considering the situation."
Doctors reconstructed her ACL and repaired her MCL and meniscus on Aug. 29 after Hendrickson crashed during training in Oberstdorf, Germany. Ever since, she has been working eight hours a day with U.S. ski team physical therapists.
Alan Alborn, the U.S. coach, said Hendrickson has been progressing methodically on the 90-meter hill for a week.
"Sarah has done an outstanding job of taking baby steps every day," he said. "She has exceeded everyone's expectations and continues to do so."
The team roster is to be announced on Wednesday. With no results on the circuit this year, Hendrickson would have to be included as a discretionary choice.