A spectacular final effort from Norway’s Maren Lundby helped her win gold in the women’s ski jumping normal hill at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre on Monday 12 February at PyeongChang 2018.
Lundy’s jump of 110m in the final round combined with a score of 56.5 artistic points gave her an overall total of 264.6, which was enough to beat Germany’s Katharina Althaus, who finished in second place with 252.6 points.
Ex-YOG athletes on the podium
Lundby, who currently tops the World Cup rankings, had taken the lead with a total score of 125.4 before the final jump. Althaus and Japan’s Sara Takanashi also secured scores above 120, setting up a tense final round.
Takanashi, who finished fourth in Sochi 2014 and who won the first ever gold medal at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), then lead after landing a jump of 103.5m, with Althous and Lundby still to jump.
Althaus, another YOG alumnus, who won silver at Innsbruck 2012, then overtook Takanashi, who had to settle for bronze.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Carina Vogt, the defending champion and 2017 world champion, had to settle for fifth place, almost 40 points behind the winner.
Hard work pays off
Lundby’s gold saw Norway become the third nation to win at least one medal on each of the first three days of PyeongChang 2018. She admitted that her victory was a long time in the making, and meant she had realised a life-long dream.
“It's been hard work for many, many years,” she said. “I have many good people surrounding me every day and they work as hard as me. I want to thank my team for a really great job. Without them, it' s not possible. I'm really proud to take the gold medal. It's unbelievable. I knew I was the favourite and I managed to make it today. I'm just really happy. This is a big dream for me.”
Lundby came into the competition as the favourite. However, while she admitted to feeling the pressure, she claimed that she felt relaxed ahead of the crucial jump.
“I actually felt more nervous before the first jump than the second,” she said. “I had this strange feeling, I do not know what it was, but I was not completely sure if my plan for today would work. I just felt more in control of what I needed to do for the second jump. I felt I had the upper hand.”
Althaus admitted she was delighted to have won a silver medal. “I'm so happy I can't believe it. I don't know what to say. This means everything,” enthused Althaus. I am very proud to have my second Olympic [Winter] Games and win a medal. It's like heaven.”
In contrast, Takanashi admitted she was disappointed not to take top spot on the podium. “I wanted to get the gold but I was not able to,” reflected the Japanese ski jumper. “Maybe it just means that I have not grown enough to get the gold medal, but my objective is to surpass those two players in front of me. Maybe my skills are not perfect enough and I have to shape them, but I think that my last jump was my best and I feel happy about this.”