She wasn’t the favourite, but on the day, on the normal hill in Rosa Khutor for the first women’s Olympic ski jumping competition, Carina Vogt triumphed with her very first jump. The German champion thus made her mark on history, and now has the most FIS World Championships ski jumping titles, with five individual and team gold medals!
While men’s ski jumping had been staged since the first Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924, the women’s event started with a long battle. Some female pioneers had already taken to ski jumping at the end of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 2004-5 season that a first international tour was organised by the FIS (a Continental Cup), and then things evolved, particularly at the impetus of the Americans, such as Lindsey Van, the first world champion in 2009.
The FIS set up the World Cup (the first edition was held in winter 2011-12); and the IOC decided on 6 April 2011 to add women’s ski jumping to the Olympic programme, as of the Sochi 2014 Games.
Sara Takanashi takes the first victory on the Olympic stage, Vogt remains in the shadows
As would be the case for many disciplines or events, the first Winter Youth Olympic Games, in Innsbruck in 2012, played host to the inaugural women’s competition at an Olympic event. It was the young 15-year-old Japanese phenomenon Sara Takanashi who won, and went on to win, among other things, three consecutive junior world titles (2012, 2013 and 2014). She was by far in the lead in the FIS World Cup 2013-14 ahead of a Carina Vogt, with 10 victories at 13 events, winning twice on the hill in Hinzenbach (Austria) on 1 and 2 February, five days before the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Games. Vogt, 22, had earned seven podium places, but as yet no wins...
Originally from Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg, Vogt competed in her first international ski jumping competition on the hill in Meinerzhagen (Germany), at an FIS event staged in the summer, on 15 August 2004, at the age of 12. She competed in the Continental Cup in 2006, as the Women’s World Cup did not yet exist, and learned at a very high level, finishing 4th in 2007, 5th in 2010 and 8th in 2011 in the Junior World Championships. She earned her first World Cup podium place in winter 2012-13 then, given her good results, was among the medal contenders for the first women’s Olympic competition. From there to Olympic victory was a huge leap. And yet...
A victory that entered the history books
On Tuesday 11 February 2014 at 8.30 p.m. local time, under the spotlights on the normal hill in Rosa Khutor, first there was a test jump. Takanashi, Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz and Vogt – in that order – were the only ones to pass the 100m mark. One hour later, it was time for the first round in a historic final. On her first jump, Vogt landed at 103m to take the lead in the competition.
For her second jump, with nerves of steel, the German reached 97.5m, making a total of 247.4 points and beating 30-year-old Iraschko-Stolz (a last jump of 104m and 246.2 points in total) and France’s Coline Mattel (bronze with 245.2 points), while the favourite, Takanashi, finished in fourth place. It had been a superb contest that had kept millions of viewers watching with bated breath, and had ended with an unexpected result.
Looking at the scoreboard with her name appearing at the very top, Vogt collapsed in tears at the finish area. “I don’t have any words,” she cried. “Three years ago, I never believed it was possible. It’s fantastic. I’m the first women’s Olympic champion in ski jumping and I’ve never won a World Cup! It’s incredible.”
Vogt’s success was all the more momentous as, frankly, no one had expected it before she pulled it off on the day. The day after winning gold, she said: “I still haven’t quite got over what happened yesterday. I remained focused so as not to be distracted. Succeeding with my jumps – it was madness. It was an indescribable feeling at the bottom. It felt like hours before I finally saw I was number 1!” A federal police officer in civil life, Vogt secured her place in the history of the Games and her sport.
Record number of World Championship titles
After this Olympic first, Vogt’s career took her to international heights and a World Championship record. While she has only two victories in the FIS World Cup (from the 2014-15 season), she is the only individual double gold medallist at the World Championships (in Falun in 2015 and Lahti in 2017), and was twice on the German gold-medal-winning mixed team for the same events. She was less successful at the PyeongChang 2018 Games (finishing fifth in the competition won by Norway’s Maren Lundby), but in 2019 in Seefeld, along with Juliane Seyfarth, Ramona Staub and Katharina Althaus, she won the very first women’s team competition at the World Championships. As a five-time world champion, Vogt is the most decorated female ski jumper in history.
She injured her right knee in training in Austria in July 2019, which put a stop to her competing this season, but she says she can’t wait to return to competition, with the 2021 World Championships at home (in Oberstdorf) and the Beijing 2022 Games in her sights. In addition, new prospects are on the horizon for her with the addition of the mixed team competition to the Olympic programme; but first she has to earn her precious place on the German team.