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Seifriedsberger and Pinkelnig – an almost unbeatable duo

Seifriedsberger and Pinkelnig – an almost unbeatable duo
Jacqueline Seifriedsberger and Eva Pinkelnig are having a high.
Image: APA/BARBARA GINDL
Seifriedsberger and Pinkelnig – an almost unbeatable duo
Stefan Kraft
Image: APA/AFP/RICHARD A. BROOKS

“Yes,” Eva Pinkelnig blurted out after the 35-year-old from Vorarlberg left her mark on the ski jumping home World Cup in Hinzenbach with a double victory. Austria’s athlete of the year is now putting pressure on Slovenia’s Nika Prevc in the overall World Cup; the defending champion has reduced her deficit to 208 points eight individual competitions before closing time.

“After starting late (in December because of knee problems, note) I didn’t believe that I still had a chance of winning the ball. I’ve never been that good at arithmetic, I’m better at ski jumping,” said Pinkelnig, who now has 14 World Cup successes.

The relatively small normal hill in the Eferdinger Basin seems to be tailor-made for her; the distance hunter won three of the most recent four Hinzenbach competitions. “It’s going quite well at home. It’s unbelievable to win twice. I’ve already done it in Villach – and now I’ve done it again,” said the Harder native, who was able to celebrate on the podium with a teammate.

For local hero Jacqueline Seifriedsberger (SC Waldzell) from Schildorn, the journey (around 40 minutes) was a stone’s throw and the result was entirely in keeping with the spirit of the 33-year-old, who is experiencing her second spring. After her triumph in Willingen, the Upper Austrian – loudly cheered on by her fan club – took second and third place. It’s the veterans who are setting the tone at the moment.

End of career off the table for now

“I’m really enjoying it. The first jump on Sunday wasn’t that good, but the second one was even cooler. I’m not one to argue. At the moment I’m totally happy. It’s not a given to be on the podium.” , emphasized Seifriedsberger, who had thought about ending her career not so long ago.

“I wanted to take a look at the changes in the coaching team (Bernhard Metzler succeeded Harald Rodlauer, note). With a season like this, it’s difficult for me to say I’m quitting,” explained the Innviertler, who is clearly hungry for more : “Next year there will be a World Cup, then another Olympics (in 2026 in Milan and Cortina, note), that could be considered.”

The 2026 Winter Games should also be something like the final sporting highlight for Pinkelnig. “Then a woman’s family topic becomes prominent. That’s very difficult to reconcile with top-class sport.”

At 19, Julia Mühlbacher (SC Höhnhart) is only at the beginning of her career, but she feels right at home in the Austrian “super team”, which brought five athletes into the top 16 on Sunday.

Mühlbacher, who is aiming for an Olympic medal in the long term, left Hinzenbach with two 16th places and increasing pain. “The battered knee is getting worse from jump to jump. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. I want to go through the season,” she said.

Seifriedsberger and Pinkelnig – an almost unbeatable duo
Stefan Kraft
Image: APA/AFP/RICHARD A. BROOKS

40th World Cup victory for Kraft

Stefan Kraft celebrated an anniversary at the Ski Flying World Cup in Oberstdorf: The 30-year-old from Salzburg, who was third on Saturday immediately ahead of Michael Hayböck (UVB Hinzenbach), celebrated his 40th World Cup victory on Sunday, the tenth this season. Four Austrians (in addition to Kraft Manuel Fettner in fifth, Daniel Huber in sixth, Hayböck in eighth) made it into the top eight.

In the all-time best list, Kraft surpassed the Poles Kamil Stoch and Adam Malysz (39 successes each), only Matti Nykänen (46) and Gregor Schlierenzauer (53) have more first places.

“It’s something special. I find it annoying how many times we’ve been at the top. It’s nice that it’s worked so well over such a long time,” said Kraft, who increased his lead in the overall standings over the Japanese Ryoyu Kobayashi (on Sunday third) to 269 points. Next stop: Lahti.

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