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Takanashi in good spirits ahead of Olympic women’s ski jumping competition

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Sara Takanashi went through another training session late Monday on the normal hill at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre and said she was in top form ahead of Tuesday night’s event.

“I can’t say if I like it or not (the hill), but compared to my other jumps, my jumps today were the best,” she stated. “The transition is the most important thing and that determines the result.”

Takanashi, the favorite for the gold medal in the inaugural Olympic women’s ski jumping competition, enjoys competing in the evening.

“I really like jumping at night because there are lots of lights, everything is sparkling,” she commented.

Takanashi’s primary foe will likely be Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, the 2011 world champion.

The 30-year-old Austrian beat Takanashi twice in late January in Planica, Slovenia, and has looked good in practice here.

Takanashi has won 10 of the 13 World Cup events this season.

When asked if Sarah Hendrickson, who has just returned from major knee surgery, is still a medal contender, Takanashi had high praise for the American.

“I’m not Sarah, I cannot say,” she said. “She is the one who inspired me. I hope she will have a good competition.”

The 17-year-old also revealed what she watches on her mobile phone when she is back in the Olympic Village.

“I’m watching the Olympic competitions I couldn’t see live,” she said.

When asked about her favorite sports other than ski jumping, Takanashi stuck to those held in the winter.

“I like snow sports, especially the moguls, the slopestyle,” the Hokkaido native noted.