Austria's Stefan Kraft won this season's first Ski Flying event on the HS 225 Heini-Klopfer-hill in Oberstdorf, which was reconstructed for 12 million Euro. Kraft took the win in front of 19 000 enthusiastic fans with jumps of 227.5 m and 218 m (439.9 points). Only 5.1 points behind, Andreas Wellinger (234.5 m and 222.5 m; 434.8 points) came in second. Wellinger provided the highlight of the day with his record jump of 234.5 m on the reconstructed hill. The third place went to World Cup leader Kamil Stoch of Poland (222.5 m and 217 m; 425.4 points).
Today's winner was more than happy after his triumph: "Ski Flying is always something very special for me. I'm always looking forward to it and that I was able to get my first win in Ski Flying here in Oberstdorf is amazing. It's a really nice day. Ski Flying is the coolest and most exciting thing there is, but I have to stay calm. Tomorrow I don't care about the result I just want to fly over the hill size twice in the competition." This was Kraft's sixth win in the World Cup, the second this season and the first ever in Ski Flying. Stefan Kraft is the first athlete since Martin Schmitt 2000/01, who could win on the large and the flying hill in Oberstdorf in one season. He was already the best in the opening event of the 4-Hills-Tournament on December 30th, 2016 in the Erdinger Arena.
Local hero Andreas Wellinger, who won in Willingen last weekend and is still in a fantastic shape, provided the highlight of the day. With a great jump of 234.5 m and a smooth landing he enthused the fans and himself. He obviously enjoyed the celebrations in the outrun for a couple of minutes after his jump. "It was really close between Stefan and me in the final. My first jump with the new hill record was amazing, and landing it with a telemark was a really, really cool feeling. I'm in a great shape at the moment so it's pretty easy for me right now", said Wellinger. Today's result was the first ever podium finish for the Bavarian in a Ski Flying World Cup.
Third-placed Kamil Stoch was impressed by the new Heini-Klopfer-hill: "The hill is very well prepared and I also like the new profile. I was really enjoying this competition today, it was very nice to fly. Yesterday I had some problems in the inrun, so today I was focusing only on my technique and nothing else. I think this will also be a good plan for tomorrow, just to focus on myself and what I need to do and not on the result."
Norwegian Daniel Andre Tande finished fourth with 418.2 points, followed by the two Prevc brothers Domen (410.9 points) and Peter (392.8 points). Michael Hayboeck and Markus Eisenbichler were seventh and eighth, ahead of Poland's Piotr Zyla. Richard Freitag completed the Top 10.
After the first competition on this hill, athletes and coaches were satisfied with the facility. "This is a very good hill with a good atmosphere, also because the spectators are very close to the landing area and the outrun. The atmosphere in this stadium is amazing", said German head coach Werner Schuster.
Poland's Kamil Stoch leads the overall World Cup ranking with 1038 points, ahead of Norway's Daniel Andre Tande (903 points) and Domen Prevc of Slovenia (831 points). Stefan Kraft is fourth, best German athlete is Markus Eisenbichler with 509 points.
The second Ski Flying event in Oberstdorf starts on Sunday at 3:00 pm CET.