Johnson, U.S. women soar in Cont. Cup opener


After being in the hunt for her first podium of her career, Alissa Johnson went all out to win in the first women's ski jumping Continental Cup of the season with teammate Jessica Jerome taking the No. 2 spot in Lillehammer on the 1994 Olympic ski jumps Saturday.
    "I'm still kind of waiting for it to sink in to be honest. I've been waiting to be on the podium for six years so I was pretty psyched," Johnson said.
    She led four of her teammates into the top 10 with Lindsey Van, who just returned to competition after missing part of last season with an injury, in fourth and Avery Ardovino in sixth.


LILLEHAMMER, Norway — After being in the hunt for her first podium of her career, Alissa Johnson went all out to win in the first women's ski jumping Continental Cup of the season with teammate Jessica Jerome taking the No. 2 spot in Lillehammer on the 1994 Olympic ski jumps Saturday. 
    "I'm still kind of waiting for it to sink in to be honest. I've been waiting to be on the podium for six years so I was pretty psyched," Johnson said.
    She led four of her teammates into the top 10 with Lindsey Van, who just returned to competition after missing part of last season with an injury, in fourth and Avery Ardovino in sixth. Johnson beat out a field of 30 international competitors to win and said that all she had to do was relax and have a little fun.
    "At the top of the ski jump I was saying how it felt exactly like training. The less pressure I put on myself the easier it is and the more fun I have," Johnson said. "I think that's the most important thing. Today was fun and one thing led to another and I won!"
    Johnson, a student at Westminster College in Utah, knew her first podium finish was going to be heading her way soon.
    "I've felt confident with my jumping for the last two months. I knew, especially after the last four competitions, that it was just a matter of time for it to be my day," Johnson said. "I didn't try any harder than normal today and it just happened."
    For Jerome, who's still got her sights set on her first Continental Cup win, Saturday's competition marks her second second-place finish.
    "I had one really good jump yesterday. My first jump today wasn't great. The speed was super low for everybody," Jerome said. "Even though I didn't have a really good jump, it really motivated me in the second round and I had a decent jump the second round and made it work."
    Jerome said thinking about the positives and learning from her jump Saturday will be what helps her out in future competitions.
    "I was close to having my first win, so I'm just going to take it from there. I'll remember what I did right today and try to funnel that into my thoughts for tomorrow," Jerome said.
    On Sunday, Jerome was the top U.S. finisher with another second place. Norway's Line Jahr won with jumps of 92.5 and 95 meters. Annete Sagen, the world's top jumper also coming back from knee injuries, placed third. Overall, Jerome was happy with the weekend.
   "It's two of my best results in my entire life, but in both instances I could have won. I know that it's possible and that gets me really fired up," Jerome said. "I had a really good first jump today and on the second jump I missed the takeoff and I knew it right away, but I'm excited."
    The team will now train for 10 days in Lillehammer before heading to Germany for competitions Sept. and 27.

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