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Ski Jumping: Bardal wants globe
Planica is always a spectacle. Even if the hill is not the world’s largest anymore, the competitions in northern Slovenia are always especially fascinating. Because mid-March it's already spring at the facility that is located only about 100 km from the Mediterranean Sea and for most of the jumpers it's just about having a nice end to the season. There's not that much pressure anymore.
It's the same this year, but for one or the other athlete Planica 2012 is a special test since it's about the overall World Cup title. Anders Bardal wants to be the third Norwegian, after Vegard Opaas and Espen Bredesen, to crown himself as the best ski jumper of the season. The last Norwegian victory of Bredesen was already 18 years ago. And realistically there's only one that can prevent a Norwegian winner: Gregor Schlierenzauer, who already won the overall title in 2009, but he is 123 points behind Bardal with only two more competitions left.
The very consistent Bardal was able to extend his lead recently. Schlierenzauer is not in the same shape he was when he won the 4-Hills-Tournament in January. Bardal did not do that well at the 4-Hills and at the World Championships in Vikersund, so winning the overall World Cup title would really make up for that. For the Slovenian fans the fight for the yellow bib is not the most important and they want to see a ski flying show by their new World Champion. Robert Kranjec is the first Slovenian who could win the ski flying World Championship title so that will additionally boost the atmosphere at the Letalnica where they want to see their hero fly and win.
Kranjec is really looking forward to the final ski flying show this winter: "Even in a season where I was not in a good shape, I always did well in Planica." That's why it will be especially nice, said the 30-year-old national hero. Kranjec can also still win the ski flying World Cup title. Daiki Ito leads this ranking with 210 points, Kranjec is second with 195 points, whilst also Bardal (182 points) still has a good chance. This applies for every athlete: Ending the season with nice jumps over 200 m and enjoy the spring in Slovenia is the goal. The showdown starts already on Thursday with the qualification at 11:00 am CET.
Contributed by Horst Nilgen
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