Still soaring during my downtime
Last season was, in a word, terrific: I fulfilled one of my dreams by becoming the world ski jumping champion in March. After the high of worlds, I headed back to Park City, Utah, where I live, for a little time off. Little did I know, this "time off" would not be as relaxing as I had thought.
In years past, the media interest in ski jumping has been quite low. Now, thankfully, this has changed. This past spring was an insane time, filled with interviews, photo shoots, appearances and other media-related events.
I am sponsored by Red Bull and Kellogg’s, so many of the media appearances have involved those two companies. One of the highlights was going to the Red Bull headquarters in Salzburg, Austria, where I got to fly a Red Bull plane.
Now this was no normal plane, mind you: It did spins, rolls and (ahem) even backflips. I'm a thrill seeker, so I loved the experience. Though I think I’ll stick to flying upright most of the time, it was very fun. I also did a two-day shoot with Kellogg's that included a commercial. It's slightly weird having people film you while you chew Frosted Flakes, but hey, I work with Tony the Tiger now, so I can't complain!
At the end of April, I experienced one of the craziest media days of my life. I was flown to Hollywood to participate in the U.S. Olympic Committee and NBC promotional day for the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Not only was the day action-packed with interviews from all of the big guys -- Universal Sports, E!, Access Hollywood, and many more -- but it really hit me right then that I have the potential to go to the Olympics! How amazing is that?
Throughout the day, people were slapping makeup on me left and right, fixing my frizzy hair and asking me the never-ending list of common questions. One thing that struck me as surreal was the apparel they were giving me to wear in some of the shoots. Right on the front it read, “United States Olympic Team.”
Now, I haven’t officially made the team, but I was honestly made speechless by the fact that I was wearing the uniform for the Olympic athletes. My entire childhood was filled with watching athletes train and compete at the Olympics, and I can’t believe I am so close to being a part of that exclusive group. It's still a dream, not reality yet, but on that media day my dream felt like it was getting really close.
Now we're in Park City for summer training, getting back into the swing of things for the Sochi season. But all the excitement hasn't quite died down yet: On Saturday I got to meet the one-and-only Taylor Swift at her concert in Salt Lake City. I know and love all of her songs, so getting to her give her a hug was...well, let's say my life is pretty much complete!
Sarah Hendrickson, 18, is a member of the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team and represents the United States on the World Cup circuit. She was the first women’s ski jumping World Cup series champion in 2012, and won the world championships in 2013. She finished the 2012/13 World Cup season ranked second in the world.