A fourth and sixth place in the two World Cup competitions in Engelberg (SUI) right before the Christmas break of the ski jumpers were outstanding for someone who was not really competing in the World Cup so far. His two appearances during the 4-Hills-Tournament 2011 can be called insignificant.
But things like that happen in ski jumping from time to time. The shape on the day of the competition is decisive and so a young athlete can be on top and a world class ski jumper an be at the bottom of the results list on a competition weekend. So not that much importance was attached to the results of Thomas Diethart in Engelberg.
Others were the favorites for the 4-Hills-Tournament
The third place in Oberstdorf, shared with Slovenia's Peter Prevc, then proved that Diethart remained in an outstanding shape also after Engelberg, but still nobody considered him one of the top favorites before the competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At least not for winning the competition of the overall title: Ammann, Stoch, Morgenstern, Bardal, Schlierenzauer, they remained the top contenders, many experts considered Diethart capable of finishing on a strong fourth or fifth place.
But since Wednesday 4:00 pm, or one competition later, there's only one favorite for winning the 62nd edition of the 4-Hills-Tournament: Thomas Diethart, 21-year-old of Tulln in Lower Austria. It was not the fact that Diethart won the New Year's competition, others could already win in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but the way the 21-year-old took this win in a competition on the highest level, that made him a real highflyer within two hours.
Diethart surprised everyone, including himself, with his outstanding shape: "If somebody would have told me this before the 4-Hills, I would have laughed about it. This is totally crazy, I'm overwhelmed", Diethart described his feelings after the triumph in Partenkirchen. The second example, for how surprising his performances are, is the team bus with which the Austrians travel to the competitions. The whole team is pictured on it, only one is missing: Thomas Diethart.
"It happens from time to time that a ski jumper can achieve great results right away and then has the self confidence to show outstanding performances consistently", Gerd Siegmund, ski jumping expert vor the TV channel Eurosport, explaines the improved performances of Diethart. "But I have never seen such a fast and explosive improvement. Interesting is the fact that Diethart replaced Thomas Morgenstern, who fell in Titisee-Neustadt, on the Austrian team. Without the fall of Morgenstern, Diethart would probably not have been competing in Engelberg, and also not in the 4-Hills-Tournament", said Siegmund.
Now Diethart came from zero to hero within only a few hours, his is now the yardstick, the leader of 62nd 4-Hills-Tournament. If the 21-year-old is able to continue jumping on this level, the 62nd 4-Hills-Tournament will get a sensational winner. A sensational winner, that would not be that sensational after Diethart's performance in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.