The classic Four Hills New Year Ski Jumping Series is over for it’s 58th year. The varying hills at Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck, Bischofshofen have seen the madmen of Ski Jumping launch themselves and fly, fly, fly. So, who is quoted on the FIS Ski Jumping web site as saying: “Awesome. Unbelievable. A dream came true for me. I still haven’t realized it, it’s great. After the bad last year this is fantastic”? Could one man claim all four hills’ titles? Which country’s team would be victorious? Here’s how this year’s series went.
In the dying days of 2009 Andreas Kofler took the Oberstdorf title, on the ‘Schattenbergschanze’ hill, by nearly twelve points from the resurgent Finn, Janne Ahonen. It was a sweet victory for Kofler, on the hill where he had fallen back in 2007. A 136 metre winning jump is certainly one way to put a ghost to rest. Thomas Morgenstern came in a close third, with last year’s winner, Wolfgang Loitzl, back in fourth. Tricky, and variable conditions were coupled with what some thought to be a less than perfect hill.
Garmisch-Paartemnkirchen, on New Year’s day, saw Gregor Schlierenzauer move from 9th at Oberstdorf to first place, with the 27th victory of his career. Wolfgang Loitzl maintained pressure for the Four Hills title by claiming second place, where he won in 2009. A 143.5 metre hill record propelled the Swiss, Simon Ammann, to third position, with Kofler back in fourth. The 20,000 crowd enjoyed the near perfect conditions. Sven Hannawald record of taking all four titles will stand another year.
January the third saw the Ski Jumpers move to Innsbruck for round three. 19 year old Schlierenzauer, on his home ‘Berg Isel’ hill took another first with a 130 metre jump. Ammann taking the second position, with Ahonen third. Schlierenzauer’s 28th victory also pushed the Austrian (611 points) ahead of Amman (609) in the World Cup rankings, with Kofler a distant third (476).
In the final round, at Bischoshofen, Thomas Morgenstern finally came good – but only by a hairsbreadth (0.7 points!). Janne Ahonen was the unlucky second-placer, restoring some Finnish pride. Simon Amman slipped from a 136 metre jump first place in the first round to finish third. A mere 3.2 points covered the top 3 places, amply illustrating the closeness of the event.
Andreas Kofler’s fourth at Bischoshofen secured the Four Hills title. Ahonen leapfrogged Wolfgang Loitzl to finish overall runner up. The Ski Jumpers now move on to the ‘Kulm’ hill, at Bad Mittendorf. For more Ski Jump info, check the FIS site. Oh yeah, the quote at the top was Kofler’s – obviously!
- On 6th January 2010