It was a drama in two acts on late Saturday evening in PyeongChang. The first Ski Jumping competition took about two and a half hours and at the end, Andreas Wellinger could take the gold with a hill record (113.5 m) in the second round.
Andreas Wellinger was only fifth after the first round. The competition was interrupted various times, the gate had to be moved and again and again, athletes had to wait for minutes before their jump with temperatures that felt like - 20°C. Wellinger kept his nerves in the cold of PyeongChang, showed a top jump in the final and also had the necessary ounce of luck. That's what Olympic champions are made of.
"I still can't believe it, it will take a couple of hours or even days. In the second jump, I noticed early that it will go far and I knew that I'm not far behind the second place. It's a lot of work that everything can go so well on a day like today. I knew I can do it, but right now I can't find the right words to describe what it feels like. Now I'm looking forward to having a beer tonight and to getting the medal tomorrow", the overwhelmed winner said after the competition.
The two Norwegians Johann Andre Forfang Forfang and Robert Johansson achieved in their first Olympic competition what many athletes are denied. Second-placed Forfang explained: "I have so many emotions in me, it's hard to find words. This medal means so much to me because these Olympic Games have been my goal for many years now. My hometown Tromsoe was fighting against PyeongChang for the Games 2018 and that I win a medal here now is crazy."
"I feel really, really good. It's fantastic to take home a bronze medal. This means the world to me, I have been working for it since I was a little kid. The conditions were difficult, but the jury did a good job. They were patient and handled it as well as they could", said Johansson.
It was not a nice normal hill competition on Saturday, but it was definitely an exciting one at the end. Wellinger jumped on 104.5 m and 113.5 m (259.3 points) and took a clear win ahead of Forfang (106 m and 109.5 m; 250.9 points) and Johansson (100.5 m and 113.5 m; 249.7 points).
Besides the winner Andreas Wellinger, Markus Eisenbichler, Richard Freitag and Karl Geiger completed the top result for German in eighth, ninth and tenth. Andreas Wellinger now achieved what Martin Schmitt and Sven Hannawald couldn't. Wellinger's gold medal is the first individual victory at Olympic Games for a German ski jumper since Jens Weissflog 1994 in Lillehammer.
It was an unfortunate competition for the strong team of Poland. Dawid Kubacki, who was considered a contender for the podium, already had some bad luck in the first round. Despite a good jump he had no chance to qualify for the final round. Kamil Stoch and Stefan Hula, who was in the lead after the first round, came in close behind the Top 3 in fourth and fifth.
Simon Ammann, Peter Prevc and Stefan Kraft finished 11th, 12th and 13th. Bulgaria's Vladimir Zografski and Kevin Bickner of the USA achieved strong results in 14th and 18th.
The Olympic Games continue for the men on Wednesday (8 pm LOC; 12 pm CET) with the training on the HS 140 large hill.