James R. Hendrickson (deceased)
Year Inducted: 1971
Born: 1913 , Eau Claire, WI
Died: January 18,1948 Chicao, IL
James “Jimmy” Hendrickson, born of Norwegian parents, was an all-round athlete from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He began skiing at the age of six, entered his first competition at age seven, and was in jumping exhibitions around the country when he was nine holding the distinction of begin the nation’s youngest ski jumper. In those days, he was jumping upwards of 100 feet.
As a sixteen-year-old, he entered the 1929 National Ski Association meet at St. Paul, Minnesota and out-jumped all other competitors. He was Class B National Champion in 1934 and won the Central and Far West Ski Association titles in 1935 and ’36. He performed well as a member of the American Olympic Jumping Team in 1936, placing sixth overall in special jumping.
After surviving heavy combat duty in Europe during WWII, he was killed participating in his favorite sport, ski jumping. His fatal accident occurred on his second jump at Norge Hill near Chicago when he fell on the flats after a near-perfect ride, was hit in the head by his ski, and knocked unconscious. He never recovered and died several hours later at the Norwegian-American Hospital, Chicago.