Stefan Kraft wins first Ski Jumping World Cup in Korea

Stefan Kraft won the first of two Ski Jumping World Cup competitions in PyeongChang (KOR) in an oustanding manner. In the first ever Ski Jumping World Cup in Korea, the Austrian jumped on 138 m and 137.5 m (293.5 points) and took a clear win ahead of Andreas Wellinger (136 m and 136 m; 279.8 points) and Poland's Kamil Stoch (126.5 m and 134 m; 268.2 points). The HS 140 hill in PyeongChang received lots of positive feedback of the athletes, the Olympic Games next winter in Korea will probably be a Ski Jumping festival.

Kraft did really well on the HS 140 hill right from the start and it became clear right away that he would be the one to beat. It was the eighth World Cup win for Kraft, the fourth this season. The fact that he was on the podium in six competitions in a row now underlines his outstanding shape at the moment. "It's going really well for me at the moment. I did well here right from the start, also on the normal hill. And I knew that usually I jump even better on a large hill. There are hills where it's relatively easy to jump far and I'm glad that this one here is one of those hills for me", said the winner. And besides the hill, Kraft also praised the huge wind net: "I think this is the best wind net I have ever seen, it's perfect to protect the hill. Of course I want to fight for the top again tomorrow but I'll need to perfect jumps again for that", Kraft was already looking ahead to Thursday's competition.

For Andreas Wellinger, who is jumping on the highest level for weeks now, this was his fifth second place in the last seven competitions: "I'm definitely very satisfied, especially with the second jump. It was even better than the first one. Stefan is simply a bit better at the moment, so I just have to improve my jumps in order to keep up with him. It's a cool experience to be here and see the Olympic venue. I can then return here next year with positive experience and both hills are fun to jump. Right now Ski Jumping is a lot of fun, I'm in a good shape and have a lot of self-confidence now before the World Championships", said Wellinger.  

Double Olympic champion Kamil Stoch of Poland was satisfied with his third place: "I'm really satisfied with the result, but I made some mistakes in the first round. I was much too late at the take-off and I had to fight to jump as far as possible. The second jump was really good, it was that kind of jump I would want to have all the time. I like this hill, because the profile is good for me. The preparation of the hill was very good, especially in the outrun, it was totally flat."

Slovenia's Anze Lanisek in fourth and Stephan Leyhe of Germany in fifth provided the surprises of the day. Both had the longest jumps of the day with 139.5 m in the second round and both achieved career-best results. 

Norway's Daniel Andre Tande really doesn't have luck on his side this season. He was third after the first round but finished only sixth due to bad wind conditions in the final. No wonder he was fed up after his jump. Poland's Maciej Kot (6th), Karl Geiger (9th) and Norway's Robert Johansson (10th) shared a similar fate.

Richard Freitag, who was competing despite being sick, came in 11th and showed a strong performance, just like the rest of his German team. Even if Andreas Wank finished only 25th after he was on a very good eighth place after the first round. Pius Paschke was 38th and failed to qualify for the final of the Top 30. Also the Austrians achieved a very good team result. Besides Kraft, Michael Hayboeck (8th), Manuel Fettner (14th) and Clemens Aigner (15th) scored points today. Domen Prevc was 17th and is still struggling to get back in the great shape from the beginning of the season.

In the overall World Cup, Kamil Stoch (1240 points) is now exactly 100 points ahead of Stefan Kraft (1140 points). Daniel Andre Tande of Norway is third, followed by the best German, Andreas Wellinger, in fifth with 788 points.

The second competition in PyeongChang starts on Thursday at 7:00 pm local time (11:00 am CET).