Austria took gold in the men’s individual ski jumping at Lausanne 2020, denying Slovenia their third consecutive YOG gold medal in the event.
But it was a close-run thing at the Les Tuffes Nordic Centre on Sunday with Marco Woergoetter (AUT) beating Mark Hafnar (SLO) by just 10.6 points after two jumps to snatch victory.
“It’s an awesome feeling when you do a good jump,” said Woergoetter, who has already racked up five wins this season on the Alpen Cup circuit – a senior development series run by the International Ski federation (FIS).
“It’s not always easy to take your training into competition but I have felt good all week,” he said.
It has helped that he has been sharing a room with teammate David Haagen (AUT), who took the bronze medal.
“I am really happy to be on the podium with David, it’s awesome.”
It was a particularly poignant moment for Haagen, whose father died two weeks ago.
“I am dedicating this medal to my father,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s not been the easiest time the last few days but I am happy I could get a medal for him. He was always there for me.
“I knew I could win with my best jumps but ski jumping has not been the first thing I have been thinking of when I get to the hill.”
Haagen’s mother and brothers arrive in Lausanne on Tuesday to support him in the Nordic combined mixed team event.
For Hafnar, the end of Slovenia’s golden run following victories at both the Innsbruck 2012 and Lillehammer 2016 YOGs was not too much of a concern.
“I am absolutely delighted with silver,” he said, before revealing the depth of passion for the sport in his country. “It’s true we live and breathe ski jumping.
“I started at the age of five, I would have started earlier but my mum would not let me. I have loved it since then and I still love it now.”
With two Alpen Cup victories already this season and now a YOG silver medal, the sporting future looks bright for Hafnar and Slovenia.
“It’s the second most popular sport behind football,” Slovenia’s four-time Olympic ski jumper and YOG Athlete Role Model Jernej Damjan said. “There are so many kids jumping so of course we have lots of good ones.”