Takanashi flies as Innsbruck 2012 takes off

The girls took centre stage in Innsbruck today as women’s ski jumping made its Olympic debut, with Japan’s Sara Takanashi winning the gold medal and the first ever Olympic medal awarded for women’s ski jumping.

Canada’s Taylor Henrich had created Olympic history by becoming the first female to jump competitively in an Olympic event, but the first round was dominated by Takanashi, as the 15-year-old leapt to 76.5m – five metres further than any other competitor – to give her a 14-point lead going into the final round.

Takanashi – who finished sixth at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo last February – jumped the exact same distance in the final round, earning a further 54.5 points from the judges to give her a total of 269.3 – an incredible 26.8 points ahead of Germany’s Katharina Althaus, who jumped 71.0m and 72.5m to take second place. The bronze medal was won by Ursa Bogataj, of Slovenia, who twice jumped 71.5m to finish with 239.3 points.

“I’m so happy,” said Takanashi after the event. "I am very proud to win the first Youth Olympic Gold medal for Women's Ski Jumping here. It's an honour to come here and win this event."