KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — At the end of a historic night, the Olympic debut of women's ski jumping, the pioneer looked to the future.
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"In four years this sport is going to be at a high level," Lindsey Van said. She motioned toward the two ski jumps in the distance. "Hopefully we'll be on the big one."
At the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center, there are two jumps — the 95-meter one (normal hill) and the 125-meter one (large hill). The big one is still off limits in competition.
After the first Olympic gold medal was awarded to Germany's Carina Vogt on Tuesday night, the next fight began.
"Now we have to work on 2018 getting women on the large hill and a team event," said DeeDee Corradini. president of Women's Ski Jumping USA. "As soon as Sochi is over we start working on that."
"I want to be on the big hill very much," said Van, who was the face of the 10-year fight for Olympic inclusion. "Of course we want to be there. I want to catch up with the boys."
At 19, Sarah Hendrickson is the present and the future of her sport. In 2012, the inaugural World Cup season for women's ski jumping, Hendrickson won nine out of 13 World Cups to secure the overall title. In 2013, she won the world championship.
If she didn't tear the ACL and MCL in her right knee last August, she would have likely left Sochi with a medal. Instead, she finished 21st, behind Jessica Jerome who was 10th and Van at 15th.
After extensive rehab, Hendrickson took her first jump last month, but her training has been limited. In the weeks prior, her goal was take as few as possible jumps — three or four each day, three days a week — at the team's base in Park City, Utah.
"I could blame it on that I guess," Hendrickson said about her performance. "I try not to think of that way. I wanted to have no regrets. But I guess I would blame it more on not having enough training jumps at home."
The 2018 Games in PyeongChang now become the goal for Hendrickson. Her father, Bill, said Tuesday that there's "a preconceived notion that men are braver than women."
"It takes a lot of guts to go of these jumps," he said. "Now we are here we have to work on the 2018 Games."
The International Olympic Committee aims for gender equality but falls one sport short in the Winter Games. Nordic combined remains the only winter sport in which women don't compete.
IOC sports director Christophe Dubi said the program will be reviewed, as it always is after each Games, and also struck a hopeful note of inclusion. "You remember the debate regarding women's ski jumping and at the time it was considered that we didn't have the depth and number of jumpers for Vancouver. We don't need to go back to these arguments," he said. If depth continues to improve, inclusion presumably would follow.
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Nordic combined athletes will likely look to this group of ski jumpers for guidance. Though Tuesday night's event was as much about equality as it was about sport, it was also about a collective fight.
"There's a special camaraderie all the girls have, from all the countries, and I really felt it tonight," Jerome said. "I don't want to seem complacent. I know if I had done what I was doing a week and a half ago, I would be up there on the medals. It just didn't happen for me today. But just be here to share this with all my friends and competitors is a really awesome consolation prize."
"We have arrived."