Kamil Stoch is the new Olympic Champion on the normal hill. He took the clear win in the first ski jumping competition at the Games in Sochi ahead of Peter Prevc and Anders Bardal and is now the second Polish Gold medalist after Wojciech Fortuna 1972 and the third medalist of Poland at the Winter Games.
Did this really happen?
“Did this really happen? It feels as if this didn't happen to me. My final jump was great. I didn't know if I won, but I knew it would be a great result. It was a fantastic feeling when my teammates carried me on their shoulders”, said the newly crowned Olympic Champion. Poland's head coach Lukasz Kruczek said to the Polish TV channel TVP: “Kamil dominated the competition today. It was hard work to get him compete.” The 2013 World Champion laid the foundation for his triumph already in the first round. He posted the longest jump of the day on 105.5 m that earned him a lead of more than six points. Bardal and Prevc followed in second and third. Bardal landed on 101.5 m, Prevc jumped one meter farther, but was one point behind after the first round.
Prevc takes Silver ahead of Bardal
In the final Prevc fought back: 99 m, half a meter more than Bardal. The Slovene took Silver, 1.2 points ahead of the Norwegian. “I just enjoy the moment. I don't know exactly what I feel. I'm very happy right now.” Prevc is the first ever silver medalist of Slovenia at Olympic Winter Games. With 103.5 m Stoch then also showed the longest jump in the final round and with 278.0 points, and a lead of 12.7 points over Prevc, he was unbeatable. “Kamil did exactly what we wanted. His first jump was amazing and so he could be more relaxed in the final”, said Kruczek. Also Stoch's teammate Jan Ziobro, who finished 13th, was more than happy: “Kamil is my best friend. I can't repeat the first words I said to him. I have the best roommate in the world.”
Bronze medalist Anders Bardal was happy as well: “I feel really good. I wasn't sure if my final jump was good enough to win a medal, probably the others were also jumping shorter.” Bardal is now the fifth Norwegian who could win an Olympic medal on the normal and the large hill. 2010 he won bronze in the team competition on the large hill in Whistler.
Defeat for Austria
The Austrian team could not win any medals in the first competition. 4-Hills-Tournament winner Thomas Diethart showed a strong performance with jumps on 99 m and 98 m and finished fourth with 258.3 points. His teammate Michael Hayboeck followed in fifth with 101 m and 98.5 m. Gregor Schlierenzauer, whose goal is to win a gold medal in Sochi, was only eleventh with 253.3 points. Also Thomas Morgenstern could not win a medal. But only a few weeks after his serious fall in Bad Mitterndorf he can almost feel like a winner in 14th. “I have positive feelings about the jumps today, even if the result wasn't that good. I'm really happy and it's great to be here.”
Also the German dreams of a medal didn't come true (yet). Andreas Wank was in the lead for a long time in the first round with a great jump on 101 m, he was then sixth before the final round and still had a chance to finish on the podium. With his second jump on 97 m and 253.4 points he finished on a good tenth place. Andreas Wellinger was only 14th after the first round, in the final he could then move up to sixth with 257.1 points.
Freund fell and lost his chances
Severin Freund, who was considered one of the favorites after his good performances in training, fell in the first round. “I'm sad because this is not was I was hoping for. The fall was my mistake. But I'm still in a good shape and now I focus on the large hill.” Maciej Kot was a positive surprise in seventh with 255.8 points, just like Anssi Koivuranta in 12th and Czech Roman Koudelka in 16th.
Record for Kasai
Noriaki Kasai, who was eighth, only 0.6 points behind Kot, and Jernej Damjan in ninth can also be satisfied with their start of the Olympics. Together with Russian luge athlete Albert Demchenko, Kasai now holds the record of participating in seven Olympic Games. Simon Ammann was not among the best today. The Swiss, who won two Gold medals in 2002 and 2010, was only 17th and could not meet the expectations. Also the Japanese, who came to Sochi with high hopes, probably expected more than the places 18, 21 and 24 for Reruhi Shimizu, Yuta Watase and Taku Takeuchi.
Mikhail Maksimochkin could dream of a top result. The the joy of the fans in the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center he jumped on 104 m in the first round, but with only 90.5 m in the final he finished 30th.