Severin Freund celebrates first win of season
Severin Freund spoiled the party for the Norwegians. With his first win this season, the German prevented the triumph of local hero Anders Bardal in Lillehammer. Daiki Ito crowned an outstanding weekend for the Japanese team with his third place. It was the fourth podium result for Nippon in the fourth competition in Lillehammer.
Freund led after the first round with his 132.5 m jump and kept his nerves in the final with a jump of 137 m. Bardal moved up from fifth to second with the longest jump of the day on 138 m, after he landed at 131 m in the first round. With 277.0 points he came in only two points behind the winner. Daiki Ito achieved his first podium result of the season with a total of 275.7 points and jumps on 132.5 m and 138 m.
Freund, not far behind the podium in Saturday's normal hill competition in seventh, was happy after the competition: "I know that I can be very strong if I make my best jumps and my jumps today were really good. I know that I can be on top with very good jumps but you have to show this in the competition and that's always difficult. I'm really satisfied. I think that the conditions in the first round were okay, in the second round they were pretty good and that made it easy to fly. But that's ski jumping, you need a little bit of luck."
Bardal, who started the season today after missing Klingenthal and Kuusamo, was satisfied as well: "This was a good start of the World Cup season for me. It's always special to be on the podium in Norway. I really like these hills and it was a good day. This was probably the best competition so far this season, the conditions were a bit changing, but it was quite fair."
Ito was happy about his third place and also a strong Japanese team result: "I'm very, very happy because I achieved a podium result early in the season. Yesterday Taku Takeuchi was on the podium, this is very good for our team. It was not easy for me to show two good jumps today, because my level is not so high right now. The conditions were good for ski jumping yesterday and today and it was a very fair competition."
After the win in the mixed team competition, Sara Takanashi's success in the ladies' event and Taku Takeuchi's second place on the normal hill, the Japanese team showed its great shape also today. 41-year-old Noriaki Kasai missed the podium by only five points after two very good jumps on 134.5 m and 135 m. But the veteran was obviously satisfied with his fourth place.
Thomas Morgenstern was happy about his fifth place finish and enjoyed the unfamiliar position as the best Austrian, only 0.1 points behind Kasai. His teammate and overall World Cup leader Gregor Schlierenzauer could not live up to his potential in 15th.
Poland's Piotr Zyla was second after the first round and could hope for a podium result. With two consistent jumps on 134.5 m and 134 m and a total of 268.3 points he finished in a good sixth place. 11.5 points ahead of ski flying World Champion Robert Kranjec, who was seventh. Jurij Tepes as 12th and Peter Prevc as 14th completed the good team result of the Slovenians.
Speaking of teams: Taku Takeuchi achieved yet another good result for Japan in eighth. Janne Ahonen showed his best performance of the season so far as ninth. Dimitry Vassiliev was also in the Top 10, 0.3 points ahead of Andreas Wellinger. Davide Bresadola achieved a Top 15 result for Italy, just like in Klingenthal. Richard Freitag, third in Saturday's normal hill competition, was not among the best on the large hill weeks after his fatigue fracture in his left foot.
While the Norwegian team had a decent in the qualification, only Bardal could keep up with the best in the competition. Anders Fannemel as 17th, Ole Marius Ingvaldsen as 22nd and Anders Jacobsen as 30th could not fight for the top positions.
Also the Polish athletes, after strong performances in summer and fall among the favorites, are not in their best shape yet. World Champion Kamil Stoch showed a good final jump and came in 18th, Maciej Kot and Dawid Kubacki were 27th and 31st.
In his last season, Jakub Janda is a consistent contender for Top 30 results, but the 4-Hills-Tournament winner of 2006 will not be completely satisfied with his 21st place. Four time Olympic Champion Simon Ammann at least by getting the laughs. He fell after the landing in the qualification and in the first round and struggled to reach the final with a grazed chin. The Swiss then celebrated his final jump in Lillehammer enthusiastically and moved up to 19th.
Gregor Schlierenzauer defended his lead in the overall ranking ahead of Taku Takeuchi. Severin Freund is now third.
The World Cup continues next weekend in Titisee-Neustadt in the Black Forest in Germany. Two individual competitions will be held there.