It was probably one of the strangest Ski Jumping competitions in many years. In heavy snowfall and extremely difficult conditions, Poland's Dawid Kubacki won the World Championship title on the normal hill in Seefeld. Kubacki took the win ahead of his teammate Kamil Stoch and Austria's Stefan Kraft.
After the first round, it seemed as if the Polish team would no be able to win a medal at the WSC in Seefeld. The best of the team of Stefan Horngacher was Kamil Stoch in 18th, Dawid Kubacki was only 27th.
Both Stoch and Kubacki had bad conditions in the first round. The same fate was shared by half-time leader Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan and Karl Geiger (2nd after the first round) in the final. Due to the heavy snowfall, the inrun track got slower and so the best athletes of the first round had no chance to win anymore.
Poland's head coach Stefan Horngacher explained right after the competition: "After the first round I thought, thank you, no medal again. We came here as top favorites in the team and in the individual events, we were jumping great here in training, and then this first round... The guys are in a good shape, everything is fine and then there's no medal again. It was tough for me."
But then came the second round and jumper after jumper it became more obvious that the first jumps will be worth a lot, even gold and silver in the end.
"I didn't believe that we could win a medal until Dawid secured his. It was totally unexpected. With Karl Geiger, Ryoyu Kobayashi, Killian Peier and others, some strong athletes still had to jump. I thought that we would end up fifth or sixth and have to go to the medal ceremony again just to watch the others get their medals", said Horngacher.
Young Austrian Philipp Aschenwald seized the window of opportunity, finished on a fantastic fourth place and was awarded a spot on the mixed team for Saturday's competition by the coaches right after today's event.
The German team achieved a good result with Richard Freitag, Stephan Leyhe and Markus Eisenbichler on the places five to seven, but understandably they bemoaned the conditions because a medal would have been possible, maybe even probable, under normal circumstances.
"This competition was very, very difficult for the jury because nobody really knew what is going to happen. It was definitely not a great day for our sport, but okay, we have to accept it the way it was. I feel sorry for Karl Geiger and Ryoyu Kobayashi, both had almost 3 km/h less speed in the inrun, they had no chance", German head coach Werner Schuster explained after the competition.
The mixed team event starts on Saturday at 4 pm CET.