Stoch turns on the style to defend men’s large hill ski jump title

Reigning ski jump champion Kamil Stoch from Poland retained the gold medal he won in Sochi 2014 with a score of 285.7 points at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium on Saturday 17 February.

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Stoch had lead after his first jump in the final at PyeongChang 2018 by a margin of 3.8 points ahead of Austria's Michael Hayboeck, and five points ahead of Germany's Andreas Wellinger. Wellinger, who had already won gold in the men's normal hill, then leapfrogged his Austrian rival with a massive jump of 142 metres to lead with just Stoch to go.

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Stoch enjoyed an excellent take off and earned style marks for his excellent flight position, and though his last jump was 5.5 metres shorter than Wellinger's, he won by 3.4 points overall after both wind factor and style marks had been accounted for.

Norway's Robert Johansson finished in the bronze medal position with 273.1 points, 11.2 points behind Stoch, the first Pole to win an Olympic medal in PyeongChang. Hayboeck eventually finished fifth outside of the podium positions, and behind Daniel Andre Tande in fourth.

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An elite group

Stoch’s victory was his third Winter Olympic gold medal, and he became the first reigning Four Hills champion to win the men's large hill event since Japan’s Kazuyoshi FunakiI in 1998. He also became the fourth ski jumper to win multiple Winter Games gold medals in the men's large hill, after Norway’s Birger Ruud (two), Finn Matti Nykanen (two) and Swiss Simon Ammann, plus the third Polish athlete to win at least three gold medals at a Summer or Winter Games after athletes Robert Korzeniowski (four) and Irena Szewinska (three).

“I think every medal or every trophy or every achievement is important, and for me especially, because I know how much work I need to put in to achieve this, and I know how many people have also worked for my success. It's always nice to end up in some special group, but actually I'm not thinking about it, I just want to do a good ski jumping. 

“Sochi was amazing, but this today was outstanding,” he continued. “It's unbelievable, I can't describe this feeling right now. I feel like I'm still dreaming but this is a beautiful dream, so I don't want to wake up. I want to say a big thank-you to all my teammates, especially the coaches, because they are creating opportunities for us to achieve what we can.” 

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Seized opportunity

Wellinger became the second ski jumper representing any of the German NOCs to win multiple medals in individual events, after Jens Weissflog won three medals in individual events. The 22-year-old was delighted with his haul. 

“It's crazy. Come to the Olympics, win a gold and a silver medal in the two individual competitions. It's unbelievable and I think I need a few more weeks to realise,” he explained. “It was a great competition on a really high level and I'm really happy to be up there in the ceremony once again. My jumps were not the best at the beginning, but I was coming closer step by step, and the last jump was really nice. I took the chance.”