"The No. 1 rule of ski jumping is: Don't bend your knees. If you bend them while you're in the air, your ski tips will point straight down, and you will not land smoothly. I'm in the air for three seconds, and by the time I land, I'll be going 100 mph."
Hendrickson, 19, has already landed almost 10,000 jumps in her life. "People ask if I freak out about flying so high, but I've done it so much, I don't get nervous anymore," says the reigning world ski jumping champion, who started alpine skiing at age 2 and launched herself off a ramp five years later. The 5-foot-4 wunderkind can soar up to 437 feet and, provided she has fully recovered from right knee surgery, is a podium contender in the women's K90 (70-meter) event, which makes its Olympic debut in Sochi. Here's how she takes flight. -- Matt McCue