Prevc wins - New format splits nations
Slovenia's Peter Prevc took a clear win in the opening event of the Summer Grand Prix in Wisla, Poland and came in ahead of Piotr Zyla and Andreas Wellinger.
With jumps on 129.5 m and 132 m the Slovene was clearly the best today with a total of 415.2 points and confirmed the very good performance he showed in the qualification.
Local hero Piotr Zyla (126 m and 131.5 m; 398.5 points) finished second ahead of the German fan favorite Andreas Wellinger (130.5 m and 131.5 m; 392.0 points), who lost his chance to win with a fall in the final round. "I didn't expect to be on the podium after my fall", he told in the press conference. But the fact that he fell exactly on the fall line saved his podium result. "The judges were also not sure if I fell before or after the line and so I got style points from 13 to 16."
The German youngster came in only 0.2 points ahead of Norwegian Andreas Stjernen (391.8 points), who was the best of his team in fourth.
Divided opinions on the new competition format
The new competition format, in which the 48 best athletes of the qualification are seeded into four groups, splits the teams into two camps.
Norwegians Rune Velta (125 m and 127 m; 387 points) and Tom Hilde (125 m and 129 m; 382.1 points) expressed positive opinions about the new rules. "I like the new format, it's great. It's a lot fairer", Velta said after the competition and his teammate Hilde agreed. "The system is different, but interesting. If the spectators like it, than I like it too! I think it's good, that fewer athletes are in the final so there's more time for every jumper." The Norwegian also praised the Polish fans: "There can be rain and a thunder storm and they still stay here! I love the Polish people because they create an incredible atmosphere at the hill. It's great!"
Olympic Champion Simon Ammann was sceptical when it comes to the new ski jumping format. The Swiss (127.5 m and 124 m; 374.3 points) sees a problem in the seeding of the groups: "There's always a top athlete among the first jumps, this is unusual and has to stand the test before I can be in favor of it. I don't have a clear opinion yet because this system is still a test run for me." But still Ammann is gives the format a chance for the future: "There have been a lot of tests during my career and so I definitely think that new things have to be tested."
„It's like being 2:0 behind“
The third of the competition, Andreas Wellinger, is not convinced: "Everyone who had a bad jump in the qualificaiton is already behind in the overall ranking. In soccer you would say they are 2:0 behind and that makes it difficult." Wellinger also made a suggestion to improve the system: "I think that it would make more sense if the best six of each group, will move on to the next round and then the points of the qualification are added."
It was especially disappointing for the Polish fans today that Kamil Stoch (114.5 m and 126.5 m; 236.7 points) could not take part in the final round due to his bad performance in the qualification. The first weekend of this Summer Grand Prix is now over and teams and athletes have divided opinions on the new format.
The next competition will be held in Einsiedeln, Switzerland on August 8th and 9th.