With the FIS Grand Prix in Courchevel (FRA), the Ski Jumping ladies started a new season. The individual competition on Friday was the first step on the road to the Olympic Games in PyeongChang in February.
Five months after the World Cup final in Oslo, it was also the first trial of strength after a long break. The main question remains: Who can take on Sara Takanashi? The four time World Cup overall winner from Japan has also been the best athlete in the summer in the past five years.
But already at this summer’s first competition, the rest of the field showed that they are up for the challenge as Katharina Althaus (GER) took the victory jumping 95.0 metres in the first round and 88.5 metres in the final giving her 230,8 points.
Althaus said, “It was really fun jumping here today and I am very happy with what came out. My goal was to make a good start, but I was not expecting it to go so well.
Sara Takanashi came in second thanks to a strong second-round jump of 90.0 meters for 220.1 points.
The defending champion said, “It was really difficult today. I had to be very focused in the in-run. But my main problem was the lack of consistency between the two rounds. I will have to work on this.”
The next stage of the FIS Grand Prix for the Ski Jumping Ladies’ is Frenstad (CZE) next weekend.
Dawid Kubacki (POL) made it a triple last weekend, claiming his third victory of the Summer Grand Prix season in Courchevel (FRA) in front of 10,000 spectators. After his wins in Wisla (POL) and Hinterzarten (GER), Kubacki jumped 133.5 m and 127.0 m and took the win with 274.2 points.
He finished clearly ahead of his teammate Maciej Kot (130.5 m and 128.5 m; 266.0 points) and Denis Kornilov (RUS) and Roman Koudelka (CZE), who tied for third with 262.4 points.
For Kubacki this was the third win this summer and the fifth in a Grand Prix event. With 133.5 m in the first round Kubacki also had the longest jump of the day.
He said, "I still make some small mistakes, so I'm not at 100% yet. But I'm jumping at a quite good level and it's good enough to win, so I'm happy about that. I hope I can improve so I'll have perfect jumps in winter. Right now my main focus is to work on these small things so I can get even better.”
Russians and Italians strong
Third-place Kornilov confirmed he will be a force to be reckoned in the future with his third-place finish. "I didn't expect to be in the top three, this result is a nice surprise for me. In the last two months I was working on my flying system and it was getting better and better, but I still have a lot of things to improve,” said Kornilov.
Besides Kornilov, Mikhail Nazarov had a convincing performance in 18th. All in all it was a top result for the Russian team. The two Italians also did very well in the evening competition on the Olympic Winter Games 1992 jumping hill in Courchevel. Davide Bresadola was 12th and Sebastian Colloredo 14th. This is a top result for the two athletes of head coach Lukasz Kruczek.
Kubacki now leads the overall ranking of the Grand Prix with the maximum of 300 points. His teammate Maciej Kot (210 points) and Stephan Leyhe (154 points) follow in second and third. With 1218 points, the team of Poland is clearly leading the Nations Cup ahead of Germany (631 points) and Norway (600 points).
The next competitions of the Grand Prix will be held on August 26th and 27th in Hakuba (JPN).