Johannes Rydzek defends title on German glory day

24 February 2017 04:59
Germany shines in first medal event in Lahti2017
Germany shines in first medal event in Lahti2017 -

The old and new World Champion on the normal hill is called Johannes Rydzek. The 25 year-old defended his title against perpetual rival Eric Frenzel, who won silver with 14.9 seconds of delay at the finish line. Veteran Björn Kircheisen battled his way to the bronze medal (+30.0), narrowly beating the fourth German, Fabian Rießle. Rießle ended his race 32.2 seconds behind Rydzek, completing a German quadruple victory.

After struggling in the jumping trainings on the past three days, Eric Frenzel confirmed that he has nerves of steel in a competition and won the jumping event with 99 metres (128.1 p.). This season’s hottest duel with teammate Johannes Rydzek heated up again with Rydzek delivering the same distance right after Frenzel’s jump. A total of 124.5 points meant only 14 seconds of delay for the cross-country race and promised suspense en masse and fascinating action on the skinny skis.

Estonia’s Kristjan Ilves surprised with the third intermediate position. Coming off a winning streak in the Continental Cup, Ilves delivered also on World Championship level and showed 98 metres (122.2 p.). He started the race 24 seconds behind leader Frenzel. Large hill World Champion Bernhard Gruber (rank four, 26 seconds to make up), Akito Watabe (+0:31) and Björn Kircheisen and Francois Braud (+0:34) were also in the fight for the medals. The hottest favourite for another position on the podium, however, was lightning-fast German Fabian Rießle, who posted a good jump of 94.5 metres, giving him a very manageable time disadvantage of 40 seconds to work with.

Fast Norwegians Jørgen Graabak and Mikko Kokslien jumped relatively well but had to make up one minute and 10 and 11 seconds respectively. For the local heroes from Finland, youngster Eero Hirvonen was in a promising position with rank seven after the jump, just 33 seconds behind the leader.

Frenzel and Rydzek found each other quite soon at the beginning of the the race and skied together until the 5 km mark. But with the hard track and also challenging snow conditions, the day went more into the direction of the reigning World Champion Rydzek. Being able to go the higher speed, Rydzek broke away from Frenzel and continuously extended the gap to his teammate. In the stadium, he had a comfortable lead, took a German flag and simply enjoyed his moment of triumph. Frenzel’s silver medal was similarly undisputed.

The fight for the bronze medal, however, was a tough one. A very large group of skiers pursued Rydzek and Frenzel for the duration of the race and only the last downhill and turn into the stadium brought a decision. Veteran Björn Kircheisen had very good skis and was able to use his momentum to propel past his teammate Fabian Rießle. In the end, Kircheisen claimed bronze by 2.2 seconds. The first non-German to reach the finish was Japanese Akito Watabe on rank five. Braud, Gruber, Orter, Hirvonen and Krog completed the Top Ten with Orter being the fastest athlete on the track (25:36.9 for 10 km).

Final Results
Ski Jumping Results