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Teenager Takanashi determined to claim gold medal

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Ski jump star Sara Takanashi took part in her second training session on the normal hill Sunday at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre and said she wishes she could better familiarize herself with the venue.

“I would like to have more time to adjust to the hill because there are none like this in Japan,” she stated. “I’m not really happy with my three jumps.”

Takanashi indicated that she has formulated a strategy and will stay with it.

“I have already decided everything tactically and I’m going to stick to it,” she noted.

Takanashi, the heavy favorite to win the gold medal on Tuesday night, said she is keeping it all in perspective.

“For me, it’s not failure not to win the gold medal, but it is my aim,” the 17-year-old commented.

Meanwhile, American rival Sarah Hendrickson, who has just returned to action following major knee surgery last year, sounds like she is still not 100 percent. She requested a lower gate for her training jump than the other competitors.

“My coach and I decided,” she said of the move. “I still have pain in my knee. There’s no need to jump too far. I don’t want to sacrifice anything.”

Hendrickson says she is still dealing with the fear of being hurt again.

“Of course, I have this in the back of my head,” she said. “I know I can get injured again, but I have to push it out of my head.”

Takanashi’s compatriot and fellow jumper Yuki Ito got off the best line of the day when talking about Takanashi.

“I share my room with her at the Olympic Village,” said Ito. “She’s always watching movies on her cellphone.”