Tell me a little bit about how you got into ski jumping? What do you love about it?
I started skiing at the age of two because I was born and raised in Park City, UT. After my brother started ski jumping I got sick of watching him and decided to try it at the age of seven. I was a quiet, shy girl but my parents could tell right away that I had passion for the sport. I love jumping because it is unique. I get to fly. I use skis as wings and my body as the controls, there is nothing in the world that can compare to a good jump. Also, its so technical and challenging and no jumps are the same.
Did you ever feel that being a woman was a hindrance in your sport? Do you see a lack of representation of women (athletes and coaches) an issue in ski jumping?
Ski jumping is and always has been a male sport. Since it started in the 1800’s women were denied to even try it. It wasn’t until 100 years later that women finally broke down that initial wall to get some small competitions. Now, the female side, has grown but it is still so far behind. Ski jumping is different than other sports. As an example, In track and field, you can see the difference in men and women (time, distance, height, there is nothing wrong with that but its science and physiological reasons) but ski jumping is so technical that with a little more speed we can jump just as far as the men. Men will always have more power on the take off but women can fly easier because in general we are lighter. I have never wanted to take anything away from the men in this sport. I respect them beyond words and look up to all of them. But we deserve more on the female side of things.
There are less women than men in the sport. Like I said we are 100 years behind, but we have enough. We have 15 countries represented at each world cup and 60 girls at a high level. This is a lot more than most other winter sports (on the male or female side). We are mainly coached my men although some girls that are retiring are starting to come back as coaches which is great. But to be honest, I think the men love coaches us females.
In the states, female ski jumping is more popular. Since we had to gender struggle we have gotten a lot of press. Globally it is a lot harder to make it as a female. We make about 3,000$ for a World Cup win where the men make $10,000… Thats a huge difference.
Do you feel women athletes are underrepresented in the news?
In general I think male athletes are more popular. That will take a lot to change whether we like it or not. I think small steps in making stories and reports about females is what needs to happen to go in the right direction.
What advice would you give young women who wish to enter your sport professionally?
Sports are amazing. I think females learn a lot from sport because we start and continue purely because of passion. AKA we are not in it for fame and money (not that all men are but I think it plays a factor) I love being a female athlete. I feel respected and powerful when I go about my everyday life because I have learned so much through competing. If you want to be an athlete, be an athlete. Find the passion and work hard and the path will carve way for you. It has taught me to follow my heart and silence the outside world, people respect that with what you continue to do later in life.