First women's Continental Cups held July 23-24 at Utah Olympic Park

First women’s Continental Cups held July 23-24 at Utah Olympic Park{mosimage}Women’s ski jumping made a big step toward the Olympics this year by gaining FIS approval for a Continental Cup circuit this season. Two major steps remain, and the clock is ticking if women’s jumping is to find a spot at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics: The Continental Cup needs to be upgraded to World Cup status, and women’s jumping must be a medal event at two World Championships. (It will be an exhibition event for the third time at the 2005 Worlds in February.)

Against typically gorgeous Western sunsets, the first women’s Continental Cups were held July 23-24 on Utah Olympic Park’s newly redesignated 100-meter hill; 26 women from seven nations participated.

Austrian Daniela Iraschko won both events, and Norwegian Annette Sagen came in second each night. “I’m a flyer. I like bigger hills, but this was good,” said Iraschko of her wins.

On the first night of jumping, Slovenian Monika Pogladic was third, Norway’s Line Jahr fourth and local favorite Lindsey Van took fifth. On Night 2, Jessica Jerome, another local heroine, produced the lone U.S. podium, finishing third; Van and Jahr tied for fourth.

“There’s still a long way to go if we’re to get women’s jumping onto Vancouver’s schedule,” says U.S. nordic chief Luke Bodensteiner, “but this was a fantastic start. The sport’s growing, and FIS is taking notice.”

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