First of all: Thomas Diethart is a well-deserved winner of the 62nd 4-Hills-Tournament. The cool way the young athlete of Hinzenbach took this title - impressive. The way his parents were excited and cheering him on with the plush pig - adorable. This guy is fun, hopefully also in the future. The 62nd edition of this ski jumping spectacle once again proved one thing: The 4-Hills-Tournament follows its own rules. And there is no "typical 4-Hills winner".
There were "specialists" on the four hills, like Ahonen and Weissflog. Both predestined for this stressful event with four competitions within 10 days because of their class, physically and mentally. There are the "fighters", like Gregor Schlierenzauer or Thomas Morgenstern, who never give up until it finally works well for them. And then there are jumpers like Anders Bardal or Simon Ammann, who simply show their enormous quality at other events.
The carefreeness with which Thomas Diethart seized the chance of a lifetime reminds us a bit of Adam Malysz 2001 or Anders Jacobsen 2007. It worked, with his personal motto: "I have nothing to lose." In the end, this probably made the difference. And, ironically, maybe also the shape of his own teammates.
The defending champion and record World Cup winner was already thinking about the Olympic hills in Sochi and declared the 4-Hills a training for his last remaining goal. Thomas Morgenstern was not even able to carry his skis up the hill and still became one of the top contenders. Wolfgang Loitzl, maybe in his best shape since 2009, lost his chances in the storm of Innsbruck. Andreas Kofler is struggeling with his shape. Well, then it's Thomas Diethart. While those, who were considered favorites, were lacking this carefreeness. The "super eagles" of Austria were beatable.
But it seems that this fact was not an extra boost for Simon Ammann, Kamil Stoch, Anders Bardal or Severin Freund. Swiss Ammann was close to winning the only title that is still missing in his collection until the end. Anders Bardal, maybe the most consistent jumper in the field, is still waiting for his first win during the Tournament. Kamil Stoch managed to defend the yellow bib until after the final in Bischofshofen. And Severin Freund? It would be fatal to deny him and his teammates the class. It might look totally different already in a few weeks in Sochi.
But the 4-Hills-Tournament follows its own rules. The Austrian team now celebrated six wins in a row. Whoever saw the facial expressions of Simon Ammann, Anders Bardal or the German head coach Werner Schuster, could guess that some were probably kicking themselves. Because it does feel like a lost chance. While somebody else just took it. Respect Thomas Diethart! It will start all over again at the 63rd 4-Hills-Tournament.