She worked 3 part-time jobs to get there, but this U.S. ski jumper is retiring after her first Olympics

Abby Ringquist came in at 29th in the women’s ski jumping competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics — and she won’t be returning to improve on that placement.

The 28-year-old resident of Park City, Utah, both made her Olympic debut and competed for the last time on Monday after deciding to retire from the sport following these Olympic Games.

And it’s not the physical strain of the sport — which involves skiers starting from a point higher than the Empire State Building, hurtling down a ramp at a fast speed of around 60 miles per hour and then flying roughly the length of a football field before landing — that prompted the decision.

Instead, it was the financial toll, Ringquist told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I don’t have it in me to keep financing myself to the next Games,” Ringquist said. “Financially, it’s a huge burden.”

She also chose to close out her athletic career in Pyeongchang, rather than continue competing through the rest of the sport’s season, because her family was able to make it out to South Korea to see her jump.

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For Ringquist, the decision must be bitter-sweet. She was one of 15 current and former women ski jumpers who sued the Vancouver Organizing Committee to have the sport added to the Olympic roster at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The lawsuit was unsuccessful, but the International Olympic Committee relented to negative publicity and added a single ski jumping event for women starting with the 2014 Sochi Games. Comparatively, men’s ski jumping has been contested at every Winter Olympics since 1924. At Pyeongchang, men will compete in three ski jumping events as well as three Nordic combined events, which involve ski jumping and cross-country skiing.

Ringquist works three part-time jobs to pay for her training and competing, including coaching young athletes and waiting tables at a local restaurant on the weekend. But now that she’s married and has a mortgage to pay, diverting much needed funds to her sport rather than her household became too tough.

The family mainly subsides off her husband’s income — he works as a snow groomer at the Deer Valley ski resort during the winter and as a handyman during warmer months. “Having a single income in our household is hard,” she said. “I’ll be excited to have that weight lifted off my shoulders,” she told the Utah publication.

Unlike some other Olympic sports, it’s very hard to make serious money as a ski jumper. World and Olympic champion ski jumper Severin Freund told the German sports website ISPO.com that he only earned 169,500 Swiss francs ($182,000 in today’s money) in prize money during the 2015-2016 season in which he placed second overall in the World Cup. Adding in sponsorships, he said he earns roughly 500,000 euros ($620,000) a year before tax.

Also see: Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon’s ‘Hunger Games’ — he swiped free apples because he was too poor to buy food

While that may seem like a decent paycheck, it’s paltry compared to what many athletes earn. And that’s the going rate for one of the sport’s top competitors — those who have less success will earn considerably less.

Ski jumping is also a fairly unpopular sport in the U.S. — to the point where athletes must pool their equipment requests and place orders together throughout the year, according to USA Nordic, since retail shops don’t sell it. A helmet alone can cost $195 — altogether a new set of equipment can set ski jumpers back some $1,800.

Added to that, ski jumpers must dole out funds to pay for coaching, using ski jumping facilities, traveling to tournaments and maintaining their equipment. Plus, as Freund noted, ski jumpers have to pay for their own insurance. And given the risk involved in the sport, premiums can be very high, he told ISPO.com.

Moving forward, Ringquist said that she hopes to work with children after completing college, whether through coaching or teaching. As for what she’ll miss most: “The feeling of flying is something that I’ll love forever,” she said.

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