Women’s ski jumping returned to the Winter Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday, having made its first appearance on any Olympic schedule at the 2012 Winter YOG in Innsbruck, the year after the FIS Ladies’ Ski Jumping World Cup came into the existence.
That inaugural competition was won by Japanese jumper Sara Takanashi, who was 15 at the time. A three-time world junior champion who has since gone on to become the world No1 and record 37 career wins to date, Takanashi won FIS crystal globes in 2012/13 and 2013/14 and has a third firmly in her sights this season.
The sport then made its way on to the full Olympic Winter Games programme at Sochi 2014, where Germany’s Carina Vogt prevailed in a superb competition.
Men's competition winner Bor Pavlovcic of Slovenia. Photo: YIS / IOC Simon Bruty
The legendary Lysgardsbakken Ski Jumping Arena provided the setting for Tuesday’s two events, with Slovenia’s Ema Klinec dominating the women’s competition with enormous jumps of 95m and 96m. That gave her a gold-medal-winning tally of 249.3 points, well clear of Russia’s Sofia Tikhonova and Italy’s Lara Malsiner in second and third.
The only jumper of the entire day to trump Klinec’s impressive brace was her compatriot Bor Pavlovic in the men’s competition, with leaps of 101m and 99m.
Already a member of the World Cup circuit, with three podium finishes to her name this season, the 17-year-old Klinec was naturally thrilled with her stunning performance: “Beating the boys is a strong motivation for me,” she said. “Winning gold is fantastic, but I’m always just trying to go further than ever. I’d like to go on and do what [Sara] Takanashi did too.”
Pavlovic makes it two for Slovenia
Slovenia's Ema Klinec launches into action at the Lysgardsbakkene Arena. Photo: YIS / IOC Simon Bruty
The performance of the 17-year-old Pavlovic capped an exciting day of action that was watched by a large crowd. His opening jump earned him a score of 130.9 points and a healthy first-round lead, which he defended with ease second time out, again going furthest to rack up a total of 262.8 points and win by a distance from Norway’s Marius Lindvik and Germany’s Jonathan Siegel.
“It’s the biggest moment of my career,” said a delighted Pavlovic, who has also made his World Cup debut this winter and is making speedy progress.
Giving his view on the outstanding achievements of Slovenia’s young jumpers, the team’s chef de mission Ziga Dobnikar said: “We have great coaches.”