Most German ski jumpers have lost their top form from December. Before the World Flying Championships there is only one real encourager – and he is very hungry.
After his next brilliant sporting achievement, Andreas Wellinger treated himself to a hearty piece of meat with plenty of fries. Ketchup and mayo were also a must for Germany’s best ski jumper at the traditional rib dinner in Zakopane, Poland.
The well-strengthened Olympic champion is in absolute top shape a few days before the Ski Flying World Championships and is therefore the only real hope for a medal on the giant facility on the Kulm.
In Zakopane, Wellinger led the otherwise weak German quartet to third place with flights of 138.5 and 137.5 meters. The next day he took second place in the individual when top favorite Stefan Kraft from Austria won and was on the podium again.
“The path is the right one. I’m looking forward to ski flying,” said the 28-year-old Wellinger after the successful weekend. Behind Kraft, who took over the sole record of Finn Janne Ahonen with his 109th individual podium finish, and Wellinger, Anze Lanisek from Slovenia came third on the day.
Lots of problems in the German team
Even two weeks after finishing second overall at the Four Hills Tournament, Wellinger is consistently strong. On the newly introduced Poland Tour he repeatedly achieved sporting highlights such as the hill record in Wisla. “Andi did great, his second jump was very good,” said national coach Stefan Horngacher on ARD.
Wellinger will be one of the top contenders for precious metal in Bad Mitterndorf, where a new individual ski flying world champion will be sought on Friday and Saturday. Things are likely to become more problematic in team flying on Sunday, because apart from the constant Ruhpoldinger, the German team has taken some problems with them into the new year.
Pius Paschke (15th) and Karl Geiger (23rd) have already won the individual World Cup this winter, but are now clearly lagging behind. Stephan Leyhe and Constantin Schmid didn’t even make it into the second round in the individual. “We have high quality, but we have to use it,” said Geiger after the team competition. Things are “not going easy” at the moment.
There is still a lot to do in the flight phase, noted head coach Horngacher. “We have to become even more relaxed when flying for ski flying,” demanded the coach. Wellinger is currently the only real guarantor.
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.