Poland soars to first team gold
Bronze medalist Piotr Zyla (130.5 m and 123 m), Dawid Kubacki (129 m and 119.5 m), Maciej Kot (130.5 m and 121.5 m) and World Cup leader Kamil Stoch (130.5 m and 124.5 m) scored a total of 1104.2 points took the first gold medal for Poland in a team competition at World Championships.
Defending champion Norway (Anders Fannemel 131 m/112.5 m; Johan André Forfang 126.5 m/138 m; Daniel André Tande 126 m/126 m; Andreas Stjernen 127.5 m/125 m) came in second, 25.7 points behind the winners. The third place went to Austria, with Michael Hayboeck (130 m/118.5 m), Manuel Fettner (126.5 m/121 m), Gregor Schlierenzauer (124 m/113.5 m) and double World Champion Stefan Kraft (134 m/126 m). The Germans, who were third before their last jumper Andreas Wellinger, lost their place on the podium in the final round.
Like already in the individual competition, the level was extremely high in this team event. The fans not only saw an outstanding Polish team, but also two totally different rounds when it comes to weather conditions. While there was almost no wind in the first round, the conditions were typical for Lahti in the final round of the best eight teams, constantly changing from head to tail wind and gusts.
Many position changes in final
Poland already had a lead of 17.4 points over Austria after the first round, Germany was 18.8 points behind and Norway 27.6. The results between the second and fourth place were changing constantly after each group, because the athletes of these teams, with the exception of Stefan Kraft, had more or less luck with the difficult conditions.
Poland consistent from Zyla to Stoch
Only the Poles, who won the World Cup team competition on January 28th in Willingen ahead of Austria and Germany, didn't have one bad jump. And that even though Dawid Kubacki, last jumper in the second group, had to get off the bar twice due to the strong wind. "It was difficult, I didn't know what conditions I would have and it was cold", Kubacki said afterwards. "I'm very happy about the gold now. It was a lot of work today. But we showed that we have a strong team."
A small advantage for Poland was the fact that head coach Stefan Horngacher took advantage of the rules in the first group and moved the gate down for Piotr Zyla, who was third in the individual competition. He then not only showed the second-longest jump of this group with 130.5 m, behind Anders Fannemel (131 m), he also got the bonus of 4.9 gate points and took the lead for his team. Polend extended or defended the lead in every group. In the final they were the only team with no bad jump and so they won their first ever WSC-Gold after finishing third two years ago in Falun and 2013 in Val di Fiemme; Poland couldn't win a team medal yet at Olympic Games. "This is a fantastic moment for us", said final jumper Kamil Stoch, who couldn't win an individual medal in Lahti.
Forfang with hill record
Defending champion Norway had a bad start in the final with Anders Fannemel, who is the only remaining member of the 2015 World Champion team. He landed already after 112.5 m and lost a lot of ground, but still Norway was fourth. Johann Andre Forfang then made up for the lost points of his teammate and improved the hill record, set by Andreas Widhoelzl (AUT) 2006, by 2.5 meters. After this jump the team of head coach Alexander Stoeckl was back in the game. Daniel Andre Tande and Andreas Stjernen defend the result with solid performances. "It's unbelievable. At first we were on top, then we lost everything and then came Forfang and set a hill record", said Stjernen, whose father Hroar also won silver with Norway 1987 in Oberstdorf. For Norway this is the fifth silver medal since team competitions are held at World Championships.
Bad luck for Leyhe
While Forfang jumped all the way down the hill, Stephan Leyhe landed already at 103.5 m, Germany was only fourth now and Austria moved up to second with a good jump of Manuel Fettner. After the third group things changed again, after Gregor Schlierenzauer jumped only on 113.5 m. Before the final group Austria was suddenly fourth. Like in the individual competitions, where they were fighting for the top two spots, Stefan Kraft and Andreas Wellinger decided the duel for bronze. While the Austrian jumped on 126 m, the German landed at 119.5 m and so the team of Werner Schuster came in only fourth. "We had the quality to win a medal, we had six good jumps, but unfortunately we also made two mistakes", said the German coach.
Schlierenzauer very moved
The Austrians were the lucky ones today and Gregor Schlierenzauer, who won a medal in six team competitions in a row now, for of which gold, was obviously moved after winning the bronze medal. "I'm very moved. I was happy that I could take part in this WSC and I want to thank the guys." Four-time medalist Stefan Kraft was also happy about this turbulent second round: "It's great that we could achieve this. I had some luck in the final round. I would have never expected to win four medals here, bronze with the team was a very nice ending."
The Slovenes were not consistent enough today and finished fifth. After Finland had three of the four athletes in the final round of the team competition, the home team also made the cut for the second round this time and came in sixth. Japan and the Czech Republic tied for seventh. Russia (9th), Switzerland (10th), the USA (11th) and Kazakhstan (12th) failed to qualify for the final.