First win in the World Cup for Anssi Koivuranta
Anssi Koivuranta surprisingly won his first ski jumping World Cup competition. At the leg of the 62nd 4-Hills-Tournament the Finn showed an outstanding jump in the first round and won ahead of Simon Ammann and Kamil Stoch.
The winner was overwhelmed: "I don't know what to day, that makes interviews difficult. It's an unbelievable day for me. The conditions were difficult, but you have to make the best of it. I think I was lucky today. The wind was not so strong, but it was changing all the time. Head wind, tail wind, side wind and sometimes all together. I'm happy that I had luck during my jump. If I'm confident I can keep that spirit. I was already on the right track in the past couple of weeks."
After 21 of 30 jumps the jury decided to cancel the final round. The stronger and changing winds made it impossible to carry out a safe final round. FIS race director said to Berkutschi.com: "Given the fact that the wind speeds could have increased any moment, the jury and the athletes did a great job. The interruptions were getting longer and we would not have been able to complete the round also because it was getting darker."
Koivuranta jump on 132.5 m early in the competition and reached a total of 127.5 points. 1.2 points behind, Simon Ammann came in second with 133.5 m, only 0.1 points ahead of Kamil Stoch. "I have to be satisfied today. The hill was always tricky for me. I had the right conditions today and I was aggressive. I really wanted to close the gap in the overall ranking and that worked. The conditions are already crazy since the beginning of the season. I'm happy that my legs were good today, that lead to a good position in the inrun. I still have a good chance to win the 4-Hills-Tournament. My experience might help, but I never underestimate my opponents. Like all Austrians, Thomas Diethart is very strong physically. I think it will be a close race. The hill in Bischofshofen is better for me than the hill in Innsbruck."
Kamil Stoch was satisfied with his first podium finish at the 4-Hills: "Of course I'm happy. I think I did a good job today and I was jumping very well. It's nice that this was good enough to be on the podium. The conditions were difficult, you never knew what wind you'll get."
Local hero Gregor Schlierenzauer missed the podium by only 0.8 points with his jump on 131.5 m. "It's not that difficult to jump far with these head wind conditions. For the last two days everyone was talking about that it would be a difficult competition. I was lucky today", Schlierenzauer said. 4-Hills leader Thomas Diethart didn't make it to the podium but with 126.5 m and 122.7 points he now is in a very good position before the final event in Bischofshofen.
Peter Prevc can be satisfied with his 122.1 points and the sixth place under these difficult conditions. 41-year-old Noriaki Kasai followed in seventh with 121.3 points. Thomas Morgenstern was unlucky with the conditions and landed already after 119.5 m (118.8 points). He is now almost 16 points behind the leader in the overall ranking. It was a very successful day for the Finnish team. Jarkko Maeaettae achieved a career best ninth place. Denis Kornilov was ninth and confirmed his strong performance of the qualification. It was his best result since the final in Planica last season.
The German jumpers could not benefit from the changing conditions. Richard Freitag was 11th, Marinus Kraus 13th, Severin Freund 15th and Andreas Wellinger 18th. "I'm pretty satisfied with my jump. You have no influence on the conditions. I saw two or three athletes who really had problems. But this thrill is part of the sport. Of course you alwas hope that the conditions decide the competitions."
Stefan Kraft, 12th in Innsbruck, showed a strong second jump, but: "It's a pity, but the decision was definitely right. I didn't really see it, but I guess it didn't get any better, otherwise the jury would not have canceled the round. It's great that Thomas Diethart is still in the lead." Anders Bardal was 14th and has no chance anymore to fight for the overall title, he is now 44 points behind Diethart. Anders Jacobsen was 16th: "It was a strange competition, not only for me. It was definitely not fair. For the spectators it was a good show, there were falls and turbulent jumps. But I felt safe, I'm too stupid to be afraid."
Tomaz Naglic seized the opportunity and came in on a career best 17th place. Manuel Fettner, 21st in Innsbruck: "It was difficult, everyone knew that. I just tried to stay in control and land on both feet." Jan Matura (22nd): "You needed some luck today. For me it was okay and I have to be satisfied. The atmosphere was perfect, that's why we were jumping." Maciej Kot of Poland, who missed the final in 32nd: "It was like a roulette, you needed luck to jump far. But I think it was okay to jump. There were so many spectators and we don't do this only for us, but also for the fans. The conditions were not too bad."
Before the final event in Bischofshofen on Monday, only Thomas Morgenstern (-15.4 points) and Simon Ammann (-9.4 points) are in striking distance to overall leader Thomas Diethart. The 4-Hills leader: "The competition in Innsbruck was very difficult. I think it was not bad for me. Of course I would have wanted to make a second jump but the decision of the jury was right. The atmosphere in Bischofshofen will be awesome I hope that many family members and friends will be there. It will definitely be very exciting."
Noriaki Kasai is fourth, but with 19.6 points behind Morgenstern he will probably not be able to fight for the title. Kamil Stoch is now 53 points in the overall ranking, but he was able to defend the lead in the overall World Cup. Anders Bardal and Gregor Schlierenzauer are now sixth and seventh in the 4-Hills ranking. The Germans Michael Neumayer, Andreas Wank and Andreas Wellinger are 12th, 13th and 14th, today's winner Anssi Koivuranta is now 23rd.
Michael Neumayer checked off the competition: "The sporting value was about zero for me. It was not fair, but they made sure that it's not dangerous. It doesn't matter if I'm 12th or 15th in the overall ranking. I was not jumping well yesterday and today." Severin Freund, only 22nd after the first three legs, said: "For me as an athlete it's always difficult to judge whether it was the right decision to cancel or not. It was a difficult competition. Of course it's always better for us if there are two rounds. It was not dangerous when I was jumping because the coach would have given me a sign. It went a lot better for me here than in Garmisch. It's a pity that my second jump doesn't count, but I want to keep that feeling."