Sochi successfully hosts FIS Ski Jumping World Cup
The RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre, which will be used during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, welcomed the world’s leading ski jumpers for the first time from 8-9 December as the newly-built venue hosted the latest stages of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup.
The event offered organisers of the 2014 Winter Games the chance to test Sochi's K-95 ski jump for the first time, with leading male and female athletes from 19 countries taking part in the first international ski jumping competition to be held in Russia at this level.
The first round of the men’s event was won by Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer, who claimed his 42nd World Cup victory with jumps of 104.5m and 105.5m for a total of 270.7 points.
"I feel older when I think about the fact that I have already won 42 World Cups,” said the 22-year-old, who won bronze medals in both the normal hill and large hill events at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. “Here in Russia, the hill is very interesting. It is always good to experience the Olympic hill."
Schlierenzauer’s compatriot Andreas Kofler won the second round with consistently strong jumps of 101.5m and 102.5m for a total of 271.3 points and the 28-year-old was also impressed by the 2014 host city.
“Russia is a really nice country,” he said. “I like the combination of sea and mountains here in Sochi.”
In the women’s event, which will make its Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Games, the first round was won by reigning World Cup champion Sarah Hendrickson, of the USA, who landed jumps of 103.5m and 103m for a total score of 264.2 points, beating Japan’s Youth Olympic Games champion Sara Takanashi into second place.
"I enjoyed jumping this hill,” said Hendrickson. “It is great to win on the 2014 Olympic Games venue."
The second round, meanwhile, saw France’s Coline Mattel and Austria’s Daniela Iraschko finish in a tie for first place on 231.1 points, with Takanashi claiming third.
“Here in Sochi everything is perfect – the preparation of the hill, the organisation and so on,” said Mattel afterwards. “I am already looking forward to the Olympic Winter Games. The hill has an interesting profile with a quite flat landing zone, and I like it.”
"It feels really good to have won on the 2014 Olympic hill; it is awesome,” added Irashko. “I like Sochi, this will be the new empire of Russian winter sports!"