First a corona illness, then back problems and hardly any successes – so far it has not been Stefan Kraft’s winter. But yesterday the ÖSV ski jumper made everything forgotten. The 27-year-old from Salzburg once again proved to be a specialist in major events. He triumphed in heavy snowstorms and changeable conditions at the large hill competition of the Nordic World Championships in Oberstdorf and after the double in 2017 he won his third individual title. After flights at 132.5 and 134 meters, Kraft was 4.4 points ahead of the Norwegian Robert Johansson (129.5 / 135.5). Third place went to the German Karl Geiger.
“I couldn’t put my socks on at the Ski Flying World Championships in Planica, I was so far away,” said the Salzburg man after the strength act. But he always trusted himself. “I have to thank so many people for the fact that I look so good physically. I always felt that when I was okay, then something was possible.” And what was inside. In the past, Oberstdorf has proven to be very good ground for Kraft, who already triumphed here at the Four Hills Tournament in 2014 and 2016. “It was a snow battle like my first World Cup victory here. Every jump was like a piece, I really got into a flow.”
In the hour of success, Kraft also remembered his friend and long-time roommate Michael Hayböck, who celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday. The Theninger was not considered for the large hill competitions and traveled home on Thursday. “I want to congratulate him. I’ll hand in the gift later.”
The chance was there yesterday that a second ÖSV eagle would have landed on the podium. But Daniel Huber (133.5 m / 123.5 m) dropped from third to eighth place. World Cup debutants Jan Hörl (127 / 136.5) and Philipp Aschenwald (123.5 / 130) climbed to tenth and eleventh place in the final.
Big finale today
With yesterday’s strong team result, Austria’s team pushed itself into the role of favorites for today’s team competition on the large hill (5 p.m., live on ORF 1). “It is a new jumping under different conditions. But if we bring it here in a similar way, then we are really good at it,” hopes ÖSV head coach Andreas Widhölzl. With the rise of Kraft’s success, things should certainly be a little easier. (fei)
Ski jumping at a glance
Austria’s previous world champions: Large hill: Karl Schnabl (1976 Innsbruck), Andreas Felder (1987 Oberstdorf), Gregor Schlierenzauer (2011 Oslo), Stefan Kraft (2017 Lahti), Kraft (2021 Oberstdorf); Normal hill: Toni Innauer (1980 Lake Placid), Armin Kogler (1982 Oslo), Heinz Kuttin (1991 Val di Fiemme), Wolfgang Loitzl (2009 Liberec), Thomas Morgenstern (2011 Oslo), Kraft (2017 Lahti)
Characteristics: Stefan Kraft was born on May 13, 1993 in Schwarzach im Pongau. Today he lives with his girlfriend in Oberalm. The 27-year-old (1.70 m tall / 56 kg light) has been Austria’s first three-time world champion in ski jumping since yesterday. He now holds eleven World Cup medals (3 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). In addition, he has held the ski flying world record with 253.5 meters since March 18, 2017, celebrated 21 World Cup victories so far, won the overall World Cup in 2016/17 and 2019/20 and also triumphed at the Four Hills Hill in the 2014/15 season. Tour. Only the Olympic victory and a ski flying world champion title are missing in Kraft’s personal track record.
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