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Meet Taylor Heinrich: Canada's newest ski jumping star

01/26/2015 06:54 EST | Updated 03/28/2015 05:59 EDT
Taylor Heinrich's introduction to ski jumping is a classic Calgary story.  

"My mom enrolled me in a summer camp at Canada Olympic Park," said Heinrich in an email.

"I had the opportunity to try a bunch of different sports. Ski jumping was one that struck my interest most."

Now 19-years-old, Heinrich became the first Canadian woman to win a medal at a Women's World Cup ski jumping event. She placed third in the normal hill competition in Oberstdorf, Germany.  

CBC Calgary reached Heinrich via email at her hotel in Austria to ask her some questions about her historic accomplishment.

1) What were you thinking at the top of the ski jump on Sunday?

I wasn't focused on who I had to beat or what distractions there were around me. I was only focused on one thing and that was technique. When it was time to jump, I sat on the bar and just took a deep breath in and out, then let go.

I knew I had executed a good jump when I was flying though the air. I was flying past the green "to-beat line" (the laser line) and when I landed, I wasn't sure what to expect. The only thing I could do was wait and see what happened with the last three jumpers to go.

When Slovenia's SpelaRogelj landed her jump, I saw that my name was still in first position and that's when I knew I was on the podium. To be honest, it didn't occur to me that I had made history. I was just super excited I had made my first podium. 

2) Have you ever had a bad spill while ski jumping? 

I have had a few crashes, but the worst crash was when I "tipped-in" in Calgary a few years ago. A tip-in is when you drop one or both tips straight down in the flight.

Basically, I dropped my ski tip and slammed my head straight into the landing hill. I was concussed and had to spend a few weeks recovering before returning back to jumping. 

3) What do you do when you're not training or competing? 

Usually I will be working on a bison ranch — working with horses and helping out my boss with anything that needs to get done. On occasion, I will volunteer and help people in need. However, when I'm not working, training or volunteering, I will be hanging out with my friends. 

4) And what do you do for fun?

Karaoke is my No. 1 hobby. I spend every Saturday evening rocking out with my friends.

In the summers, I enjoy wake-boarding, water skiing, swimming, running, reading, watching movies and rock climbing. One thing that might surprise people is that I like to jam out to opera and sing along really loud when no one is around. 

5) What are some fast facts about Taylor Heinrich?

Schools attended: Elementary at Dr. Oakley. Junior high at Arbour Lake Middle School. High school at Bishop Carroll. 

Inspiration: Cross-country skier Chandra Crawford. She is an exceptional athlete and has really pushed for women in sports by creating the Fast and Female program.

Favourite foods: Cabbage rolls and perogies.

Favourite treat: Liquorice. I could eats bags and bags of it! 

Aside from your parents, who would you like to thank following your bronze medal win: "Rogers Insurance for supporting me. Without them, this trip would never have happened."

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