One of the biggest stories at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games is the fact that women's ski jumping will be a full Olympic sport. On Sunday it was reported on www.examiner.com that Canadian ski jumper Alexandra Pretorius of Calgary needed to pull out of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
However Pretorious is not the only high performance women's ski jumper who has experienced a knee injury in recent times. That is because American ski jumping star and world champion Sarah Hendrickson also tore her anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in August while training in Germany, and is just getting back to her skis within the last month.
If Hendrickson is healthy, she has the potential to contend for an Olympic medal. But the significant word in that sentence is potential. Whether or not Hendrickson is ready will be the major question. It will be interesting to see if Hendrickson will be able to turn on the ski jumping switch and be competition ready after experiencing such a long layoff.
In making the ski jumping predictions, it was necessary to be cautious, so that is why Hendrickson is not on my list as an Olympic medalist.
The gold medal favourite on the women's side is Japan's Sara Takanashi, who is the World Cup champion last year, the World Cup leader this year and finished second to Hendrickson at the 2013 World Championships.
On the men's side, German Severin Freund needs to be praised for his great consistency. He has been in the top ten in many large and small hill competitions in the last two years.
Here are my ski jumping predictions:
Men's Normal Hill (February 8 & 9)
Men's Large Hill (February 14 & 15)
Men's Team (February 17)
Women's (February 11)