Norway's Robert Johansson won the qualification on the large hill in PyeongChang this evening. After Johansson had already presented himself in an outstanding shape in Wednesday's official training on the HS 142, the 27-year-old is not the top contender for Olympic gold on Saturday.
Steady headwind between one and two meters/second made some spectacular jumps possible in today's qualification. The longest jump of the day as shown by Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi. The younger one of the Kobayashi brothers set a new hill record with 143.5 m and Simon Ammann of Switzerland jumped on 140 m and also landed beyond the old record of 139.5 m set last year.
For Robert Johansson, a jump of 135 m with less headwind as enough to win the qualification with 131.9 points, followed by his teammate Johann Andre Forfang. The new record holder Kobayashi came in third.Wellinger strong - Hayboeck surprises
Andreas Wellinger was strong again in fourth and the normal hill Olympic champion will definitely fight for the medals also in the large hill event. Like today's winner Robert Johansson, Wellinger jumped on 135 m. "Both of my jumps, in the trial and in the qualification, were on a cool level today. Today was the first time that I could jump the way I wanted to", explained Wellinger.
Austria's Michael Hayboeck surprised in fifth this evening. With such a strong performance, the 26-year-old has a chance to achieve a top result for the struggling team of Austria.
Overall World Cup leader Kamil Stoch of Poland finished seventh and is also among the favorites in the competition. Today Stoch was only two points behind the third place, that's nothing considering the conditions. Stoch was followed by his teammate Maciej Kot.
With Markus Eisenbichler (9th), Karl Geiger (12th) and Richard Freitag (13th) the team of head coach Werner Schuster showed another strong performance. Werner Schuster explained after the training: "This hill is similar to a Ski Flying hill, that's why it suits the Norwegians, we knew that. The gap to Johansson got smaller, Andreas was close today. The conditions were changing a bit and windy, but we are strong as a team."
The team competition on Monday will definitely be an exciting battle between the teams of Norway, Germany, and Poland. The fans can already look forward to a real Olympic highlight.
The individual competition will start on Saturday at 9:30 pm (1:30 pm CET).