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February 11, 2014 AT 8:59 AM
Ten years ago, Sara Takanashi was studying ballet and piano, not flying through the air with a pair of skis on her feet. But since she discovered the sport of ski jumping at age 8, the Japanese teen has been poised to make Olympic history. Takanashi will compete in the first-ever women's ski jump event at the Sochi Olympic Games. It's been a long battle for female ski jumpers to see their sport on the global stage. In 2006, the International Olympic Committee rejected a request to include women's ski jumping in the 2010 Vancouver Games. Now, in Sochi, Takanashi and her fellow competitors will mark a watershed moment, and Takanashi's hometown of Kamikawa is cheering her on when she competes in the women's normal hill event on Tuesday.