Germany wins Gold in exciting team competition
Germany won the team competition at the Olympic Games in Sochi and took the Gold medal. Andreas Wank, Marinus Kraus, Andreas Wellinger and Severin Freund dethroned the Austrians, who won in Torino 2006 and in Vancouver 2010.
For the Austrian team, with Michael Hayboeck, Thomas Morgenstern, Thomas Diethart and Gregor Schlierenzauer, the Games ended on a positive note with the silver medal. They also set a new record with their sixth Olympic medal in a team competition. Bronze went to the team of Japan with Reruhi Shimizu, Daiki Ito, Taku Takeuchi and Noriaki Kasai. This means that the three best jumpers in an individual ranking of this competition, Peter Prevc, Kamil Stoch and Anders Bardal, could not win a medal with their teams.
Bardal sets highlight
In an exciting competition it became obvious already after the first round, that it would be a duel of Austria and Germany. Behind these two, the Japanese made almost no mistakes and were on their way to bronze, the second medal at this Olympics for Noriaki Kasai.
Anders Bardal set the first highlight in the first round with the longest jump of the day on 137.5 m. Maciej Kot had a good first jump for Poland with 131.5 m, like Reruhi Shimizu for Japan with 132.5 m. After 133 m of Jurij Tepes it also looked promising for Slovenia. Andreas Wank (132 m) and Michael Hayboeck (134 m) had good jumps as well.
In the second group it went bad for Poland: Piotr Zyla landed already after 121 m. Norway was still among the best with Anders Fannemel's jump on 129.5 m. Slovenia suffered a setback when the injured Robert Kranjec landed already after 120.5 m – that was not good enough for his team. Young Marinus Kraus confirmed the decision of head coach Werner Schuster to count on him with 136.5 m. Thomas Morgenstern jumped “only” on 129 m. Daiki Ito showed a good jump on 130.5 m for Japan.
After the third group Austria took the lead. 4-Hills-Tournament winner Thomas Diethart had a great jump on 136 m, three meters more than Andreas Wellinger. Taku Takeuchi lost a few points with 127 m, but Anders Jacobsen could not take advantage of it with only 119 m.
Freund takes the lead for Germany
The final group of the first round was won by Germany. Severin Freund jumped on 131.5 m, three meters farther than Gregor Schlierenzauer, and earned the lead for his team. Noriaki Kasai secured the third place for Japan with 134 m. Double Olympic Champion Kamil Stoch landed after 130.5 m. After Rune Velta's jump on 125.5 m, Peter Prevc jumped on 133.5 m. The Finnish team with Janne Ahonen, Anssi Koivuranta, Olli Muotka and Jarkko Maeaettae at least qualified for the final round. Also the Czech Republic, with Roman Koudelka, Jakub Janda, Antonin Hajek and Jan Matura, made the cut for the second round.
Hosts not in the final
For the teams of Russia, Canada, the USA and South Korea the competition was already over. Anders Bardal was again the first to jump in the second round, this time on 133 m. But not all of his teammates could keep up with him. Anders Fannemel (133 m) and Anders Jacobsen (130.5 m) could not make up for the jump of Rune Velta on only 125.5 m and so they came in sixth, ahead of the Czech Republic and Finland. Poland put up a great fight, the Olympics also ended well for Piotr Zyla with 132.5 m. With Maciej Kot (129 m), Jan Ziobro (133 m) and Kamil Stoch (135 m) they even “won” the second round and in fourth they achieved the best result for Poland in a team competition at Olympic Games.
Poland ahead of Slovenia and Norway
And they finished ahead of one of the favorites: Slovenia. Robert Kranjec improved his performance and jumped on 131 m and Peter Prevc was once again outstanding with 136 m. A good jump of Jernej Damjan on 130.5 m and the second jump of Jurij Tepes on 126.5 m were not enough to achieve a podium result. Japan secured the bronze medal, but Shimizu (131.5 m), Ito (132 m), Takeuchi (130 m) and Kasai (134 m) could not fight for the two top spots. Andreas Wank (128 m) lost a few points compared to Michael Hayboeck (130 m). But after the second group Marinus Kraus (134.5 m) closed the gap against Thomas Morgenstern (133.5 m). Andreas Wellinger (134.5 m) then took the lead for his team against Thomas Diethart (132.5 m).
Final duel: Schlierenzauer vs. Freund
Gregor Schlierenzauer jumped on 132 m, but Severin Freund kept his cool. Two days after he came in fourth, he took the win for his team with 131 m. At the end the German team won with 1041.1 points, 2.7 points ahead of the defending champions. Japan followed in third with 1024.9 points, 13.1 points ahead of Poland. Slovenia was fifth, close ahead of Norway.
After the third team Gold for Germany, after 1994 and 2002, head coach Werner Schuster said to the German TV station ARD: “I'm proud of the whole team. We went through a lot. A lot of things had to come together so we could celebrate such a success. Severin's jump was not perfect, but he made it. This could me a milestone in his career.”
Gregor Schlierenzauer also found some positive words for the Austrians after turbulent days at the Olympics: “I'm really happy. It was very, very close. Four or five points are nothing, but a medal is always great and Silver is very good. We had some problems here and I was not in a top shape. It was a hard fight.”
Prevc and Stoch disappointed
Peter Prevc was disappointed that his team could not win a medal: “It's hard to describe my feelings. It is sad. But the Olympics are over and I will now try to relax.” Kamil Stoch said on TVP: “I still think that a medal would have been possible. Unfortunately I only had one very good jump. We all made mistakes, apart from Jan Ziobro. I'm very proud of him. It's a pity, because it was the last competition and that's what you always remember the most. A medal was within reach.”