Michael Hayboeck won the qualification for the Olympic competition on the normal hill. The Austrian scored 128.6 points with his jump on 101 m and came in 0.7 points ahead of Andreas Wank.
“I like this hill, we are a good team. These modern hills suit me and so I'm happy that the Olympic competition takes place here. Of course I hope I can win a medal. I will do the same tomorrow and I'm confident”, Hayboeck told.
Wank sees room for improvement
Andreas Wank showed the longest jump of the qualification with 102.5 m, but he still sees room for improvement. “My jump was good, but I can do better at the take-off. I think I have a chance to win Bronze, but I can also be 30th.” The third place went to Japanese Reruhi Shimizu with 101.5 m and 126.2 points. Also Anders Fannemel of Norway was a positive surprise in fourth with 100 m and 124.6 points. The best Pole, Maciej Kot, was fifth, 0.9 points behind Fannemel. Kot jumped on 98.5 m.
Koudelka in the right shape for the Olympics
Roman Koudelka seems to get in a good shape again on time for the Olympic Games. The Czech reached a total of 121.3 points with 99.5 m and was sixth. His teammate Jan Matura came in eighth with 118.5 points, only 0.6 points behind Taku Takeuchi. The Japanese spoke about his teammate Noriaki Kasai, who jumped on 98.5 m: “The atmosphere in our team is great. That's mainly because the legend Kasai is here. He has a positive influence on the team.” Thomas Morgenstern showed an impressive performance: Only a few weeks after his fall in Bad Mitterndorf the Austrian easily qualified in ninth with 118.3 points. Jakub Janda was the third Czech in the Top 10 with 117.0 points.
Freund and Schlierenzauer strong
The best of the pre-qualified athletes were Severin Freund and Gregor Schlierenzauer, who both jumped on 104 m. World Cup leader Kamil Stoch landed after 100 m.
The Slovenes will probably not be completely satisfied yet. While Peter Prevc was not too far from Freund and Schlierenzauer with 101.5 m, Jernej Damjan was only 14th. Jurij Tepes had bad luck with the wind conditions and was 31st. The already pre-qualified Robert Kranjec will probably not become a fan of this normal hill. Like already in Friday's training, the ski flying World Champion fell again. "Robert was complaining abotu pain in his right knee. It's too early to say more. In the village we will see a doctor. I think he can compete in Sunday, but we will see", said Urban Jarc, physiotherapist of the Slovenian team.
South Koreans qualified
Surprisingly strong performances were shown by the Koreans Hyun-ki Kim and Heung-chul Choi, who came in 16th and 18th. Canadian Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes was 21st. Kim shared his 16th place with Richard Freitag. “I'm not satisfied with my jump. There is a lot to improve, especially at the take-off. But this is difficult to explain.” The Russian team will be represented in the competition by Ilmir Hazetdinov (18th), Denis Kornilov (24th), Mikhail Maksimochkin (29th) and Alexej Romashov. Maksimochkin is already looking forward to the competition. “It's nice when the fans are cheering me on. Maybe not at the take-off, but during the flight.”
Ahonen doesn't think about retirement
Also Janne Ahonen qualified, he was 27th, right behind US American Anders Johnson. Ahonen: “Jumping is not easy for me here, but it was already better than in training. The distance wasn't good, the tail wind even helped me in the end.” The Finn is also already looking ahead: “This is not my last season. I don't know if I'll compete in Olympic Games again after Sochi, but I'll definitely take part in a few more World Cups.” Besides Johnson, also his teammates Peter Frenette and Nicholas Alexander qualified for the competition.
Underdogs not in the competition
The dream of taking part in an Olympic competition will not come true on the normal hill for Nico Polychronidis of Greece and Romanian Sorin Iulian Pitea. “Of course I was dreaming about it, but I knew it would be difficult to qualify. It's a pity, because my training jump was a bit better.”