On Thursday and Friday of last week, the women’s ski jumping team competed in Szczyrk, Poland. These competitions were Continental Cups, a step up from the FIS Cups a weekend before. The team performed well and one athlete stuck out in particular, that was Anna Hoffmann (Madison, WI).
When asked about the size of field which included 49 competitors, Hoffman says, “This is one of the biggest Continental Cups I’ve been a part of.” That didn’t seem to intimidate her though, as Hoffmann jumped to 25th place the first day. While this was a great result, it left her wanting more. “I was having some great jumps in our training sessions before the competition, so I was really hoping to get in the top 15,” says Hoffmann. Luckily Hoffmann and her teammates had one more competition the next day.
On Friday, Hoffmann soared 92 meters which had her sitting in 11th place after the first-round of competition. This jump was closer to the level she had been showing in training earlier last the week. After her second-round jump, Hoffmann moved back to 17th place. This was a career-best finish for Hoffmann against stiff competition. “Flying far in competition is always fun and I hope to do it a lot more this season,” says Hoffmann.
When asked what the biggest shift has been for Hoffmann during her rapid improvement this summer, she says, “My biggest change from last season is my attitude change towards competition and having confidence in my ability.” Women’s national team director Blake Hughes applauds Hoffman’s work ethic, “She has put in a tremendous amount of effort with our sports psychologist, putting work in the gym, and has been open and willing to push herself to achieve her goals.” Hoffmann will be taking this newfound confidence to the World Cup level this weekend as she competes in the Summer Grand Prix in Frenstat, Czech Republic. Hoffmann is very much looking forward to this debut, “I am very excited to get some World Cup experience under my belt,” she says.
Hughes was happy with the entire team’s performance in Szczyrk saying, “All of the girls showed jumps that were competitive.” This included Annika Belshaw (Steamboat Springs, CO), Logan Sankey (Steamboat Springs, CO), and Paige Jones (Park City, UT) who finished just outside the top 30 both days. Hughes goes on to say, “I’m extremely happy with the group’s progress as a whole. We still need some work on the mental side but have put an emphasis and invested in mental performance, so we hope to see that pay off soon.”
The women’s Continental Cup team has a short break from competition before heading to Lillehammer, Norway in September. Hoffmann will join the World Cup team in Frenstat, Czech Republic this weekend for her Grand Prix debut while the men’s ski jumping team will head to Zakopane, Poland for this weekend’s Grand Prix event. Stay tuned for news on this weekend’s events and check the FIS Ski website for live results.