Russian ski jumper Anna Shpyneva added the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games title to her 2019 junior world championship crown on Sunday and swiftly turned her attention to even bigger targets.
“I hope the next step will be winning a World Cup and then Beijing 2022 [Olympic Winter Games],” Shpyneva said after denying hometown favourite Josephine Pagnier (FRA) and the Czech Republic’s Stepanka Ptackova in a high-class battle at Les Tuffes Nordic Centre in France.
Shpyneva is already a force on the senior circuit, having finished ninth in her most recent World Cup appearance in Klingenthal, Germany, in December 2019, but she was made to fight hard on Sunday.
Cheered on by a noisy crowd featuring three generations of her family, local resident Pagnier grabbed the lead in the first round. With gusting winds causing difficulties for all the jumpers, Pagnier showed great composure to leap 82m, which when adjusted for the conditions put her 4.4 points ahead of Shpyneva.
Out ahead of the Frenchwoman in the second round, the young Russian piled the pressure back on her rival by reaching 84m. Despite responding bravely Pagnier fell just short, finishing a combined 6.8 points behind Shpyneva.
“This competition was very important for me,” the new champion said. “It was not the best feeling when most of the crowd was cheering for the second-place [athlete] but it’s natural.
“She [Pagnier] is a very good jumper. I congratulated her, especially on that first jump.”
For the Frenchwoman, who grew up just 45 minutes’ drive away and whose father prepared the competition slope, there was a certain relief that after a long build-up the competition was finally over.
“There has been a bit of pressure, for sure,” Pagnier said. “It was hard to sleep last night. This experience will help the rest of the season and my career. I learned a lot about myself.
“I am super happy with the silver. I am not disappointed at all.”
Bronze medallist Ptackova said: “I was fourth after the first round and I didn’t think a medal was possible but here I am. That was my best jump.”