Gregor Schlierenzauer wins with outstanding final jump
Gregor Schlierenzauer won the second individual competition this season. With an outstanding jump on 143 m in the final the defending overall World Cup champion moved up from 15th to first with a total of 273.2 points. He jumped on 128.5 m in the first round.
19-year-old Marinus Kraus of Germany surprised with his second place today, after he was in the lead after the first round. He achieved his first podium result in the World Cup and with jumps on 136 m and 133 m he missed the win by only 0.5 points. The third place went to Schlierenzauer's teammate Thomas Morgenstern. The three-time Olympic Champion showed jumps on 127.5 m and 133.5 m that earned him a total of 272.3 points.
Schlierenzauer, who caused some stir with his withdrawal at the first World Cup event in Klingenthal, was more than happy after today's success: "I didn't think it would be possible to move up from 15th to first. I had some problems in the first round, but my second jump was very good and I also had some luck with the conditions. For the second jump it doesn't matter on what place you are after the first round. You have to do a good job, jump well and with good conditions and a very good jump you can be on top. It was my 51st win and this makes me proud."
Marinus Kraus was more than satisfied with his first podium finish in the World Cup: "This was my 6th World Cup competition. I was working hard in summer. I'm in a good shape and jumping is fun for me right now. I was very nervous before my second jump. But I knew that I can be on the podium if I jump well. It's my first time in Kuusamo and I love this hill. Tomorrow I want to do my best again and jump far."
Thomas Morgenstern had not much to complain about either: "After the first round the German team was better than us. I'm satisfied with my performances in all four jumps today, they were really good. For me it's important to be consistent, so I'm satisfied with the competition and the result. It's not easy when you have to wait before your jump because of the wind. And I was thinking about my crash here ten years ago, but I have to trust my coaches and the jury. Ruka is one of my favorite hills in the World Cup and I'm looking forward to the next competition."
Norwegian Rune Velta came in fourth (269.2 points) and was the best Scandinavian. Only 0.6 points behind the Norwegian, the ageless veteran Noriaki Kasai present himself in a strong shape as fifth. The Slovenian team suffered a little setback after their good season in Klingenthal. Only ski flying World Champion Robert Kranjec (266.5 points) achieved a Top 10 result as sixth. He shared this place with Germany's Severin Freund, who was second after the first round. Dimitry Vassiliev achieved a good result for the Russian team as eighth.
Kamil Stoch was a bit disappointed after today's competition. He was the best of the Polish team as tenth. Taku Takeuchi (9th) and Daiki Ito (11th) completed the great team performance of Japan. With 140.5 m young Norwegian Robert Johansson was the only jumper besides Schlierenzauer to land beyond the 140 m mark. With 119 m in the final he finished 13th.
Just like already in Klingenthal, Andreas Wellinger, Krzysztof Biegun and Jurij Tepes achieved similar results. But this time not on the podium, but on the places 15, 17 and 18. Simon Ammann was 16th and was the lone Swiss jumper in the final after Gregor Deschwanden failed to make the cut this time.
The local heroes of Finland still have room for improvement. Janne Ahonen could not qualify for the final round, so only Olli Muotka and Jarkko Maeaettae could score some World Cup points as 20th and 26th.
The second individual competition in Kuusamo will be held on Saturday at 5:00 pm CET.