Zao: Two Norwegian ladies on top
Anna Odine Stroem, Maren Lundby, Carina Vogt

The two-week-long trip to Japan ended with a 1-2 finish for the Norwegian ladies. In the third competition of the FIS World Cup in Zao on Sunday, Olympic champion Maren Lundby won close ahead of her teammate Anna Odine Stroem. For 20-year-old Stroem, this was the first podium finish in a World Cup. The third place went to Carina Vogt of Germany.

Lundby laid the foundation for her 15th World Cup win already in the first round. With the best jump of the competition (96 m / 104.1 points), Lundby earned the necessary lead in order to secure the win with a solid second jump. "It was a great day for me and for the entire Norwegian team. I'm especially happy for Anna because she worked really hard for it. It was challenging to jump here in Zao today. My first jump was really good, in the second round I almost couldn't see the take-off due to the fog. But it makes me even happier, that we were able to carry out a competition in such conditions", explained Maren Lundby.

Until today's competition, Anna Odine Stroem's best result in the World Cup was a seventh place, now she made it to the podium and even almost won. She came in only 1.3 points behind the winner Maren Lundby. "I still can't believe it, it's my first World Cup podium ever. It's incredible to share the podium with Maren. We had a really good day as a team, the good jumps prove that we can do really incredible things together. Zao is a difficult hill and we expect difficult weather here. But it's never easy if you want to win and those who do the best job finish on top", said Stroem.

Carina Vogt was happy about her first podium this season: "I was finally able to show two good jumps in a competition. I had some good jumps in training at home, unfortunately, I couldn't show any of that in Sapporo. The conditions were not easy today, it is always challenging here. The jury did a great job, the conditions were almost fair for everyone", said the 2014 Olympic champion.

With Eva Pinkelnig in fourth and Daniela Iraschko-Stolz in fifth, the Austrians showed convincing performances also on the final day in Zao. 
Sara Takanashi was sixth, Russia's Alexandra Kustova finished seventh.
It didn't go well today for the overall World Cup leader, Katharina Althaus of Germany. Althaus was only 17th after her first jump, but at least she was able to move up to eighth with a strong jump in the final round.

Katharina Althaus remains in the lead of the World Cup with 622 points, followed by Maren Lundby (588 points) and Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (459 points). 

The World Cup continues next weekend with two individual competitions in Rasnov (ROU).

Full results