Newcomer Thomas Diethart wins the 4-Hills-Tournament
Thomas Diethart (AUT) won the 62nd International 4-Hills-Tournament. With his win in the final competition in Bischofshofen ahead of Peter Prevc (SLO) and his teammate Thomas Morgenstern (AUT), he won the most prestigous title in ski jumping in his eighth World Cup competition.
Completely overwhelmed, the 21-year-old celebrated his triumph at the Paul-Ausserleitner-hill with the Austrian flag in front of 25,000 fans. Simon Ammann (SUI), who came in third and still has to wait for this title, gave the athlete of Hinzenbach the first advice already in the outrun: "Enjoy it!"
Diethart was lost for words in the first interview: "It's unbelievable. I didn't feel any pressure before the final jump. I will never forget this week." And he added: "It's great. I'm so happy and I really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was already great when Morgi was jumping. It will take a while before I realize what happened. It shows how fast it can go in ski jumping. You have to handle it mentally and then it works."
With his win, Diethart extended the winning streak of the Austrian team at the 4-Hills-Tournament. With Wolfgang Loitzl, Andreas Kofler, Thomas Morgentern, Gregor Schlierenzauer and Thomas Diethart they have won the last six editions.
Before the competition in Bischofshofen, Ammann and Morgenstern were in striking distance. Morgenstern was the first to jump, he landed at 137 m. Ammann jumped half a meter farther, but lost valuable points with a bad landing. Diethart then posted a great jump on 138.5 m. Prevc, the winner of the qualification who was not among the best in the overall ranking, had the longest jump of the first round with 139.5 m and came in between Diethart and Morgenstern.
Ammann was then the first to jump in the final, he risked it all, but at the end 137 m and 285.7 points were not enough. The four-time Olympic Champion said: "I've never given up the fight for the overall title. I was just angry about my first jump, I could have risked more on the landing. Congratulations to Thomas. I know how it is to beat the favorites as a young athlete."
Morgenstern posted the longest jump of the day with 142 m in the final and with 293.6 points today he took the second in the overall ranking. The 4-Hills winner of 2011: "Thomas really deserved this win. He showed a great performance. After my fall I would have never thought that I could be second in the 4-Hills. This makes me very proud. The result means a lot to me because I made many good jumps."
After Prevc's final jump of 138.5 m, the new 4-Hills winner jumped 140 m and took the win in Bischofshofen with 296.5 points, 1.7 points ahead of Prevc. The Slovene was still happy: "I'm very happy and not disappointed that I didn't win. I had two great days here in Bischofshofen. I think that my shape is better now than it was when I was second and third and the World Championships last season. But the level is incredibly high right now."
Ammann, who was fourth and missed his fourth podium result in this Tournament, came in ahead of impressive Noriaki Kasai. The Japanese was fifth in Bischofshofen with 133.5 m and 137.5 m (281.0 points), 2.6 points ahead of Anders Bardal (NOR), one of the favorites for this 4-Hills-Tournament. Anders Fannemel, seventh with 276.1 points, and Anders Jacobsen in eleventh achieved a good result for the Norwegian team. World Champion Kamil Stoch (POL), third in Innsbruck, was eighth and defended his lead in the overall World Cup.
Andreas Wellinger (273.3 points) and Severin Freund (271.7 points) were ninth and tenth and so the 4-Hills ended on a positive note for the German team. Jan Matura achieved a good result for the Czech team in 12th, Wolfgang Loitzl and Michael Hayboeck completed a strong team performance of Austria in 13th and 14th. Finland's Jarkko Maeaettae was 16th and achieved yet another top result after his seventh place in Innsbruck, his teammate Anssi Koivuranta was 19th. Defending champion Gregor Schlierenzauer was only 18th in Bischofshofen. Stefan Kraft, third in Bischofshofen last year, was 20th: "It didn't go as well as last year. I had two good jumps. Now I'm looking forward to the ski flying and I hope I can go there."
Jan Ziobro (POL), first and third shortly before the 4-Hills-Tournament in Engelberg, was 24th. Richard Freitag, 29th in Bischofshofen and 24th in the 4-Hills, said afterwards: "I'm a bit disappointed today. After the qualification I thought it would be better. But I still made some progress during the 4-Hills-Tournament. I don't know yet if I'll go ski flying. It once again showed that favorites for the 4-Hills can't be predicted."
Diethart won the 4-Hills-Tournament with 1012.6 points and a lead of 18.3 points over Morgenstern, who was second only 1.9 points ahead of Ammann. Prevc, who was already on the podium in Oberstdorf, followed in fourth with 971.3 points, Japanese Kasai was fifth, 9.2 points behind Prevc. Bardal and Stoch, both considered top contenders for the overall win, came in sixth and seventh with 950.6 and 938.2 points. Defending champion Schlierenzauer and Michael Hayboeck completed the outstanding result of the Austrian team with four athletes in the Top 10. Wellinger is the only German among the best ten.
The results of the other former 4-Hills winners, besides Morgenstern and Schlierenzauer: Jacobsen (winner 2007) 13th (854.5 points), Loitzl (winner 2009) 15th (799.2 points), JAhonen (five time winner) 23rd (736.9 points), Andreas Kofler (winner 2010) 25th (731.0 points), Jakub Janda (winner 2006) 46th (341.2 points).
Now the ski jumping circuit will move on to Bad Mitterndorf for the ski flying events next weekend.