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Ryoyu Kobayashi takes the Golden Eagle!

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi, Germany’s Markus Eisenbichler and his compatriot Stephan Leyhe – that’s how the podium looked after the 67th Four Hills Tournament. At the final event of the competition at Bischofshofen, victory again went to the Japanese jumper, with Poland’s Dawid Kubacki coming second and Austrian Stefan Kraft third.

Surprisingly, after the first series of jumps, a sensational result appeared to be on the cards as Kobayashi, who had won the previous three events in this tournament sponsored by 4F, lay in fourth position. But in the end, he showed his class to win the event and pick up the Golden Eagle. “I am extremely happy. I wasn’t thinking about anything before my second round jump in Bischofshofen. I was just focused on the jump and on making it a good one. And it worked,” a happy Kobayashi said later. He became only the second Japanese jumper in history to win the event at Bischofshofen (after Kazuyoshi Funaki) and he also joined an elite group of jumpers to have won all four rounds in one tournament. Something that only Sven Hannawald andi Kamil Stoch had achieved before him.

Eisenbichler was presumably counting on claiming his first victory but it proved beyond him this time. “I left the start gate as the leader. At first, I wasn’t thinking too much, and later I kept telling myself that I can do it and I can win. It didn’t happen, but I’m still very happy with a place on the podium. Maybe my time is still to come,” Eisenbichler said with a smile. Also in shock was his compatriot Leyhe. “I got onto the podium and I still can’t believe it. I just wanted to finish the tournament with a good couple of jumps, and everything went great,” said the German.

Kubacki finished fourth overall in the tournament. He set a new jump record at Bischofshofen, but his second place there wasn’t enough for a place on the final podium. “I just fell a little short,” said the Pole. “But I got the best result in Bischofshofen and it was a really good day. It was a great way to finish the tournament,” he added. The young jumper also received words of encouragement from Kamil Stoch. “I’ve already said that Dawid has enormous potential which hasn’t revealed itself fully yet. I hope that in the future he will show what he can do. I believe that he has only good times ahead. And so do I, hopefully,” Stoch said after finishing the tournament in sixth place.

 

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Eisenbichler first in qualifying, and a new record for Kubacki!

In Bischofshofen on Saturday, the jumpers were defeated by the weather, but it looks like a fantastic competition lies in store on Sunday in the 67th Four Hills Tournament. Qualifying is now over, having finished just an hour before the competition starts, and a great sporting spectacle awaits.

Longest in qualifying was Markus Eisenbichler, who currently lies second in the overall standings. The German is a long way back from leader Ryoyu Kobayashi, but who knows what will happen in Bischofshofen? Everything points to it being a quality competition with a lot of long jumps. A new record has already been set during qualifying with Dawid Kubacki’s jump of 145 metres, although this only brought him seventh place. Just behind Eisenbichler in qualifying was Norway’s Robert Johansson, with Kobayashi third.

The competition itself could turn out to be very different, however. There seem to be no real rivals to take the Golden Eagle (the coveted winner’s trophy) away from Kobayashi, who has a substantial lead in the tournament which is sponsored by 4F. But there’s something more at stake as the Japanese jumper also stands on the verge of writing himself into the ski jumping history books. After winning the first three events in the tournament, if he again comes out on top in Bischofshofen he’ll join the ranks of elite winners who managed to achieve a clean sweep of all four rounds in the tournament, a feat previously achieved only by Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch. And he is more than capable of doing it as he has been in superb form since the start of the season.

 

The question is how he’ll cope with the pressure, but it’s also about the jump itself, which is different from all the others. The jumpers often comment that Bischofshofen has a long, flat in-run and a long take-off. Will this be a problem for Kobaysahi? Most experts predict that he’ll win the tournament, but the others won’t just roll over for him. The competition starts at 17:00!   

 

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Qualification postponed by snow

Saturday was supposed to be the prelude to the grand finale of the 67th Four Hills Tournament with the qualifying session for Sunday’s final round in Bischofshofen. Things didn’t quite go to plan, however, with hours of non-stop heavy snow in Austria forcing the organisers to postpone qualifying until Sunday.

Saturday’s battle with the elements lasted most of the day. The official training jumps were twice pushed back before organisers finally had to admit defeat to the bad weather. The prospects for Sunday look better as less snow is expected and weather forecasters are also predicting rain.

The new schedule means that the training jumps will start at 13:30, with qualifying starting an hour later. The first round of jumps will then start at 17.00. That’s not the end of the changes, however, as the organisers have also announced that in the first round they will not be using the knock-out format in which jumpers compete against each other in pairs for a place in the final.

All these changes also have an effect on the jumpers themselves. “On Saturday morning, the jumpers had a short strength training session and then they had time to recover. They were in the hotel waiting for the decision of the organisers and they were twice ready to leave, but in the end they had to return to their rooms and prepare themselves mentally for Sunday’s competition,” said Adam Małysz from the Polish base.

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi currently leads the overall standings after his victories at Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck. Going in to the last event, he leads Germany’s Markus Eisenbichler in the standings by 45.5 points, with Norway’s Andreas Stjernen third and Poland’s Kamil Stoch in fourth.

 

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Kobayashi in a league of his own

The ski jumps and the weather change, but one thing remains constant in the 67th Four Hills Tournament – Ryoyu Kobayashi emerges victorious.

The Japanese jumper was the best at Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and now again at Innsbruck. Before Friday’s competition, it seemed that his main rival in the overall standings would be Markus Eisenbicher but the German performed poorly in Austria and the Japanese is now the overwhelming favourite to win the whole tournament. Kobayashi has been in a league of his own so far throughout the entire event. “I was concentrated, but I’ve also been in good form, and I felt that I could show that. I jumped exactly as I wanted to. But I’m not thinking about the clean sweep, I’m just focusing on Bischofshofen and trying to jump well there,” he said, with a smile on his face as usual.

Innsbruck also proved to be a happy hunting ground for the hosts, with Stefan Kraft in particular shining. The Austrian had made it onto the podium at Oberstdorf and he had seemed set to fight for the overall title, but his failure to make it through to the second round at Garmisch-Partenkirchen put paid to his hopes. At Innsbruck, however, he came back strongly to claim second place. “I felt really good! In the second jump, I tried not to jump too aggressively, and it worked. I’m glad because I’ve been improving from jump to jump. Now it’s my ‘home’ competition at Bischofshofen. I know the ski jump really well and I can’t wait for the competition to begin,” Kraft said.

The podium was completed by Norway’s Andreas Stjernen, who moved up into third place in the general classification and he will try to climb even further in the final round at Bischofshofen on Sunday. Kamil Stoch also moved up the standings after finishing fifth at Innsbruck, and he admitted after the event that he had finally felt his confidence returning. “I needed those jumps, because I haven’t felt confident since the start of the tournament. I was sitting at the start gate, trying to do everything as best I could, but slight doubts started to creep in. But in Innsbruck on Thursday, everything was alright,” said the 3-time Olympic champion.

Everyone was keen to move on quickly, as the tournament’s schedule leaves no time to rest. Friday’s competition is already in the past, and now the jumpers’ thoughts will turn to what awaits them in the coming days. The next qualifying session is on Saturday, with the final round in this tournament sponsored by 4F taking place the day after. 

 

 

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Kobayashi just like… Malysz

Ryoyu Kobayashi shows no sign of slowing down, and he confirmed his good form by taking first place in Thursday’s qualifying for the third round of the 67th Four Hills Tournament in Innsbruck.

 

The Japanese jumper has shone since the start of the season, and he appears to be in a class of his own at the moment. He doesn’t succumb to pressure, he copes well with all weather conditions and even when he does make a mistake, he’s able to rectify it during the flight to still outjump his competitors. At Innsbruck on Thursday, he began mission three out of four, with each one having a single goal: ‘to win’. He appears fully capable of winning all four rounds of the competition, something achieved before him by only Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch. In the opinion of many, however, the jumper who Kobayashi most resembles is… Adam Małysz from the 2000/01 season.

 

And what does Małysz himself think? “I’d say I’m shocked, because he’s in great shape both physically and mentally,” the man known as the ‘Eagle from Wisła’ said at Bergisel. “He makes mistakes, for example in qualifying when he messed up. But despite that, he still managed to straighten up and do a long jump. When someone’s in that kind of form, it can stay for a long time. I myself remember the World Championships in Sapporo, after which Hannu Lepistö told me, ‘Now we go for the World Cup.’ I looked at him and said, ‘Come on, Hannu’. But I was unstoppable. And that’s how it looks today with Kobayashi, although I don’t know if his good form hasn’t come a little too early. At the moment, he’s maintaining it, and if he manages to build up a bigger lead, he can be assured of the Crystal Globe,” Małysz said.

 

If the jumpers are not disturbed by the weather on Friday, Kobayashi should again come out on top. Of course, his rivals won’t make it easy for him. Markus Eisenbichler is right behind him, although he performed poorly in qualifying, while Czech Roman Koudelka is getting stronger each round and he was beaten only by Kobayashi on Thursday. The Polish jumpers performed rather poorly, although Dawid Kubacki, who currently stands third in the general classification, jumped well to finish in seventh place. Kamil Stoch and Piotr Żyła were further back, though they did both make it through to the competition proper.

 

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Overcoming the snow and wind

Thursday is qualifying day for the third round of the 67th Four Hills Tournament and a fantastic competition awaits at Bergisel, provided that the weather doesn’t spoil the event.

The first snowfall arrived at Innsbruck on Wednesday and weather forecasts are predicting that the flurries won’t stop for a number of hours. The forecasters also say there is a high possibility of strong winds. So everyone has their fingers crossed that these forecasts will prove to be wrong because a terrific competition lies in store. Thursday is the warm-up to what will happen a day later, when the jumpers will compete in the first ‘Austrian’ leg of the competition. Current leader Ryoyu Kobayashi is the favourite according to the experts, but… right behind him is Markus Eisenbichler, who has turned out to be the surprise package of the first two rounds with two second-place finishes. And he can already feel the rising expectations. German fans have been waiting for one of their countrymen to win this legendary tournament since… 2002 when Sven Hannawald claimed victory! When other German jumpers had the chance to win, it was usually at Innsbruck where they lost it. “We’ve trained there a lot. In the last few years I’ve jumped pretty well at Bergisel. Now I want to do my own thing and find the right rhythm on my first attempt. That’s my way,” Eisenbichler says calmly.

 

Also hoping to continue his good form is the ‘unsung hero’ of the first two rounds, Czech Roman Koudelka, who currently lies in fifth place. Then there is the Norwegian team, who have been left slightly in the shade so far but trainer Alexander Stöckl has already made it clear that victory in the Four Hills Tournament is one of his team’s main goals. Who else? The Austrians also have something to prove. Stefan Kraft had a great start to the competition, making the podium at Oberstdorf, but in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year’s Day he came up against terrible conditions and was knocked out after the first round of jumps.

 

Several Polish jumpers are also among the contenders for the top places. The Austrian trainer of the Polish team believes that three of his team are in with a chance, namely Dawid Kubacki, Kamil Stoch and Piotr Żyła. So the list of contenders is already quite long and there are still several, even dozens, more who can be added to it. Whatever happens, an exciting Thursday and Friday lie in store at Bergisel, just as long as the weather allows for a fair competition.

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A Polish brand with global ambitions – and the Four Hills Tournament is just the beginning.

“We will be closely connected with the Four Hills Tournament for the next four years, and we know how to make the most of those four years,” says Igor Klaja, President of OTCF S.A. and owner of the 4F brand, the Polish sportswear producer which has replaced Audi as the presenting sponsor of the Four Hills Tournament.

“4F, the Four Hills Tournament, a four-year agreement – we like this number. And it’s mutual,” laughs Klaja. During the 67th edition of the competition, the 4F logo will be unmissable. It’s been integrated into the official logo of the tournament, and it will appear on the scoreboards behind the trainers’ stand, at the start line, on advertising hoardings down the slope, by the exit gate, on the start numbers of the jumpers and on the wall behind the podium. In a word, it will be everywhere.

 

“I remember the first Four Hills Tournament that I ever saw live. I think it was back in 1997, when I was a young, poor student. I went skiing in Austria and the whole thing made a massive impression on me. Who would have thought that twenty years later I would be able with 4F to sponsor this event?” reminisces Klaja. Other forms of sponsorship undertaken by 4F have already made their mark in Poland, leading to the company becoming a leading clothing supplier for a number of Olympic teams (six in Pyeongchang), and slowly turning into an internationally-known supplier. “Our association with the Four Hills Tournament is a huge honour for us. We know that this is a different level of international competition here, and we are entering a different realm of sponsorship. After all, we have replaced Audi as the presenting sponsor. This agreement is a huge step for our company,” Klaja continues. Sponsoring such a prestigious event is a huge honour for the Polish company, but 4F does not intend to stop with the Four Hills Tournament. “The scale of this tournament is an honour, but it’s not the extent of our ambitions. We have our eye on even bigger events and becoming even more active on the global sponsorship market,” reveals the owner of 4F, who doesn’t even rule out the possibility of getting involved in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

 

 

Igor Klaja was speaking in Oberstdorf with Michał Błażewicz      

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Kobayashi dominates in the 67th Four Hills Tournament

The Japanese again beat the surprise package of the tournament so far, Markus Eisenbichler, who has proven a revelation by competing with Kobayashi on equal terms.

The venue may have changed, but the winner remained the same following Ryoyu Kobayashi’s victory in the second of the four competitions in the 67th Four Hills Tournament.

Twenty-one thousand fans live and a television audience of millions enjoyed the New Year ski jumping competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. And again they saw victory go to the 22-year-old Japanese jumper, who repeated his triumph from Oberstfdorf. Kobayashi strengthened his position at the top of the general classification and there appears to be no-one able to challenge him for his leader’s top bearing the 4F logo. “I was happy with both of my jumps in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, although the second one wasn’t quite as good,” said Kobayashi later, who is now starting to field questions about whether he can equal the feats of Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch as the only jumpers in the history of this legendary tournament to achieve a clean sweep of all four events during one competition. “I’m not thinking about emulating those two. I just want to jump, so I’m focusing on each test as it comes,” Kobayashi said with a note of caution.

The Japanese again beat the surprise package of the tournament so far, Markus Eisenbichler, who has proven a revelation by competing with Kobayashi on equal terms. The German is clearly very happy with how he’s performing and he seems to be developing all the time. Third was Poland’s Dawid Kubacki. “Dawid showed his class in Monday’s qualifying, which he confirmed during the competition itself by winning a place on the podium,” commented trainer of the Polish team, Stefan Horngacher.

“My hard work is paying off as I’m getting good results and I’m jumping pretty well. All I can do is keep training,” said Kubacki, who showed his good form by winning Monday’s qualifying event. The jumpers will now have a short break as Wednesday is a free day in the tournament, before everyone moves on to Austria for the last two events. Qualifying for the next leg, at Innsbruck, takes place on Thursday.

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Dawid Kubacki heads qualifying at Garmisch-Partenkirchen!

Everything suggests that the competition to come will be of a very high standard as qualifying has already shown that the jumpers are starting to hit form. Dawid Kubacki took first place, although after Ryoyu Kobayashi’s jump, current leader of the general classification in the tournament, it looked like it would be the Japanese who would be heading the leaderboard.

Dawid Kubacki, Ryoyu Kobayashi, Kamil Stoch – those were the top three in qualifying at Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the New Year’s Day event in the 67th Four Hills Tournament.

 

Poor weather, rain and dampness in the air – those were the conditions which the jumpers had to contend with in qualifying for the second event in the 67th Four Hills Tournament. The magic of this legendary tournament brought crowds of over 10,000 out to watch. And on New Year’s Day those numbers should be even bigger, a lot bigger, with weather forecasters predicting light frost and strong sunshine.

And everything suggests that the competition to come will be of a very high standard as qualifying has already shown that the jumpers are starting to hit form. Dawid Kubacki took first place, although after Ryoyu Kobayashi’s jump, current leader of the general classification in the tournament, it looked like it would be the Japanese who would be heading the leaderboard. But the judges noticed Kobayashi’s poor landing, which had an effect on his marks, and as a result Kubacki came out on top. “I was calm, but also impressed because the Japanese jumper did a great jump. Just without the Telemark landing,” Kubacki said later when interviewed with his teammates by several Polish television stations and a large group of journalists. “I’ve been working on keeping my form stable for a long time. My jumps look better day by day. I proved to myself in qualifying that I’m on the right track. I’m happy but I don’t forget that I’ve still got something in reserve. And that’s my main goal for the coming days and the rest of the tournament,” he said. And he added, “Every good, long jump brings great emotions. It doesn’t matter if it’s in competition or in training. We’re doing what we love, so when things go well, there are always lots of emotions.”

Speaking earlier to the journalists, Kamil Stoch, who finished third in qualifying at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, said: “It was a good, positive day and even though the weather is worse, I still felt good. The jumps were a little easier but they required a lot of attention and concentration. There are some things that I’m working on, and every day I know better what I’m doing.” He also drew attention to the difficulties caused by the uneven track down the jump. “We can’t expect miracles with such rain. But it was possible to do long jumps. We just have to get used to how it is,” said the three-time Olympic champion and now… fashion designer, following his recent collaboration with 4F, main sponsor of the Four Hills Tournament, on a clothing range which is still currently on the market.

The pre-event favourites all performed well. In fourth place was Markus Eisenbichler, who came second only to Kobayashi in Oberstdorf. Karl Geiger finished in sixth place, and Stephan Leyhe in eighth, so Werner Schuster, the German team trainer, will be highly satisfied. The Austrian team fared worse, though, with their best jumper, Daniel Huber, finishing in 22nd position. But they all still made it through to the competition proper.

Just after the interviews were completed, the slopes were empty. The competitors headed back to their hotels, but they’ll have no chance to see in the New Year in style. “We’ll probably be in bed before midnight. We have to be in good shape for tomorrow,” the jumpers said after qualifying had finished.

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Kobayashi triumphs in Oberstdorf

Before the competition, most experts had tipped Kobayashi for victory and they were proved right when the 22-year-old jumper made his eighth start of the season, and claimed his fifth victory!

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi, German Markus Eisenbichler and Austrian Stefan Kraft – that’s how the podium looked after the first event of the Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf.

Before the competition, most experts had tipped Kobayashi for victory and they were proved right when the 22-year-old jumper made his eighth start of the season, and claimed his fifth victory! In the process he became only the fourth Japanese jumper in history (and the first since 2001) to triumph in one of the legendary tournament’s events. And everything points to Ryoyu’s incredible streak continuing. Speaking after the competition, he said with a smile on his face that he doesn’t feel the pressure and he’s ready to fight on. He did have some anxious moments during the competition in Bavaria, however. After his second jump, he had to stand by the gate bearing the 4F logo, the event’s main sponsor, for what seemed like an age before his result was confirmed. In the end, it turned out that he had beaten Eisenbichler by a mere 0.4 points. The home favourite had thousands of fans cheering him on and he sent them all home happy with his performance. Surprisingly, this was his first time on the podium this season. Just like it was for Kraft too.

“Qualifying showed me that I can compete, but despite that I’m keeping my feet on the ground,” Kraft said cautiously just before the tournament started. The Austrian had won Saturday’s qualifying but he’d been short of confidence. On Sunday, however, he proved how strong he is. He knows how to win as he’s a highly talented competitor with not only two World Championship gold medals and a Crystal Globe to his name, but also victory in the 2014/15 Four Hills Tournament. He hasn’t been jumping well recently, but on Sunday he gave himself and all Austrian fans grounds for optimism. Now Kraft, Eisenbichler and the rest will have to do it all over again. With no time to rest after Oberstdorf, qualifying starts in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Monday, with the next competition proper on New Year’s Day.

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Austrian Stefan Kraft was the star of qualifying for the first event of the Four Hills Tournament. Best Polish finisher was Piotr Żyła, who came third.

Saturday’s qualifying event attracted crowds of over 15,500 people, all of whom helped to create a fantastic atmosphere.

Anyone interested in seeing what a great sporting celebration looks like should take a look at events on Saturday and Sunday in Oberstdorf, where the 67th Four Hills Tournament has just started. Saturday’s qualifying event attracted crowds of over 15,500 people, all of whom helped to create a fantastic atmosphere.

Everyone in the stands, and those watching back home on tv, certainly had no regrets as the standard during qualifying was set extremely high. Saturday’s winner in great style turned out to be Austrian Stefan Kraft. Victorious in this competition in the 2014/15 season, recent performances had signalled a return to top form, and this was confirmed on Saturday. Current World Cup leader Ryoyu Kobayashi came second, with the Polish jumper Piotr Żyła finishing in third. The Pole, as usual, passed through the media zone without a word. More talkative though was Kamil Stoch, who most experts have down as one of the favourites to win the whole tournament.

“I lacked the good, long jumps which I like. Maybe it’s good as I know that I can do better. It’s always good to have something to work on. I don’t put pressure on myself that I have to achieve something, I just give everything I have. I like to jump far, it brings me a lot of joy” – said Stoch, winner of the last two editions of this joint German-Austrian event.

The jumper from LKS Ząb ski club also praised the atmosphere in the stands. “During qualifying, the stands were almost completely full. We like it when people watch us and encourage us to do long jumps. We like people to be proud of us as that brings us even greater joy” – Stoch continued.

And you can be sure that it will get even better on Sunday. The competition starts at 4:30 pm.

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Ryoyu Kobayashi takes the Golden Eagle!

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi, Germany’s Markus Eisenbichler and his compatriot Stephan Leyhe – that’s how the podium looked after the 67th Four Hills Tournament. At the final event of the competition at Bischofshofen, victory again went to the Japanese jumper, with Poland’s Dawid Kubacki coming second and Austrian Stefan Kraft third.

Surprisingly, after the first series of jumps, a sensational result appeared to be on the cards as Kobayashi, who had won the previous three events in this tournament sponsored by 4F, lay in fourth position. But in the end, he showed his class to win the event and pick up the Golden Eagle. “I am extremely happy. I wasn’t thinking about anything before my second round jump in Bischofshofen. I was just focused on the jump and on making it a good one. And it worked,” a happy Kobayashi said later. He became only the second Japanese jumper in history to win the event at Bischofshofen (after Kazuyoshi Funaki) and he also joined an elite group of jumpers to have won all four rounds in one tournament. Something that only Sven Hannawald andi Kamil Stoch had achieved before him.

Eisenbichler was presumably counting on claiming his first victory but it proved beyond him this time. “I left the start gate as the leader. At first, I wasn’t thinking too much, and later I kept telling myself that I can do it and I can win. It didn’t happen, but I’m still very happy with a place on the podium. Maybe my time is still to come,” Eisenbichler said with a smile. Also in shock was his compatriot Leyhe. “I got onto the podium and I still can’t believe it. I just wanted to finish the tournament with a good couple of jumps, and everything went great,” said the German.

Kubacki finished fourth overall in the tournament. He set a new jump record at Bischofshofen, but his second place there wasn’t enough for a place on the final podium. “I just fell a little short,” said the Pole. “But I got the best result in Bischofshofen and it was a really good day. It was a great way to finish the tournament,” he added. The young jumper also received words of encouragement from Kamil Stoch. “I’ve already said that Dawid has enormous potential which hasn’t revealed itself fully yet. I hope that in the future he will show what he can do. I believe that he has only good times ahead. And so do I, hopefully,” Stoch said after finishing the tournament in sixth place.

 

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Eisenbichler first in qualifying, and a new record for Kubacki!

In Bischofshofen on Saturday, the jumpers were defeated by the weather, but it looks like a fantastic competition lies in store on Sunday in the 67th Four Hills Tournament. Qualifying is now over, having finished just an hour before the competition starts, and a great sporting spectacle awaits.

Longest in qualifying was Markus Eisenbichler, who currently lies second in the overall standings. The German is a long way back from leader Ryoyu Kobayashi, but who knows what will happen in Bischofshofen? Everything points to it being a quality competition with a lot of long jumps. A new record has already been set during qualifying with Dawid Kubacki’s jump of 145 metres, although this only brought him seventh place. Just behind Eisenbichler in qualifying was Norway’s Robert Johansson, with Kobayashi third.

The competition itself could turn out to be very different, however. There seem to be no real rivals to take the Golden Eagle (the coveted winner’s trophy) away from Kobayashi, who has a substantial lead in the tournament which is sponsored by 4F. But there’s something more at stake as the Japanese jumper also stands on the verge of writing himself into the ski jumping history books. After winning the first three events in the tournament, if he again comes out on top in Bischofshofen he’ll join the ranks of elite winners who managed to achieve a clean sweep of all four rounds in the tournament, a feat previously achieved only by Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch. And he is more than capable of doing it as he has been in superb form since the start of the season.

 

The question is how he’ll cope with the pressure, but it’s also about the jump itself, which is different from all the others. The jumpers often comment that Bischofshofen has a long, flat in-run and a long take-off. Will this be a problem for Kobaysahi? Most experts predict that he’ll win the tournament, but the others won’t just roll over for him. The competition starts at 17:00!   

 

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Qualification postponed by snow

Saturday was supposed to be the prelude to the grand finale of the 67th Four Hills Tournament with the qualifying session for Sunday’s final round in Bischofshofen. Things didn’t quite go to plan, however, with hours of non-stop heavy snow in Austria forcing the organisers to postpone qualifying until Sunday.

Saturday’s battle with the elements lasted most of the day. The official training jumps were twice pushed back before organisers finally had to admit defeat to the bad weather. The prospects for Sunday look better as less snow is expected and weather forecasters are also predicting rain.

The new schedule means that the training jumps will start at 13:30, with qualifying starting an hour later. The first round of jumps will then start at 17.00. That’s not the end of the changes, however, as the organisers have also announced that in the first round they will not be using the knock-out format in which jumpers compete against each other in pairs for a place in the final.

All these changes also have an effect on the jumpers themselves. “On Saturday morning, the jumpers had a short strength training session and then they had time to recover. They were in the hotel waiting for the decision of the organisers and they were twice ready to leave, but in the end they had to return to their rooms and prepare themselves mentally for Sunday’s competition,” said Adam Małysz from the Polish base.

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi currently leads the overall standings after his victories at Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck. Going in to the last event, he leads Germany’s Markus Eisenbichler in the standings by 45.5 points, with Norway’s Andreas Stjernen third and Poland’s Kamil Stoch in fourth.

 

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Kobayashi in a league of his own

The ski jumps and the weather change, but one thing remains constant in the 67th Four Hills Tournament – Ryoyu Kobayashi emerges victorious.

The Japanese jumper was the best at Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and now again at Innsbruck. Before Friday’s competition, it seemed that his main rival in the overall standings would be Markus Eisenbicher but the German performed poorly in Austria and the Japanese is now the overwhelming favourite to win the whole tournament. Kobayashi has been in a league of his own so far throughout the entire event. “I was concentrated, but I’ve also been in good form, and I felt that I could show that. I jumped exactly as I wanted to. But I’m not thinking about the clean sweep, I’m just focusing on Bischofshofen and trying to jump well there,” he said, with a smile on his face as usual.

Innsbruck also proved to be a happy hunting ground for the hosts, with Stefan Kraft in particular shining. The Austrian had made it onto the podium at Oberstdorf and he had seemed set to fight for the overall title, but his failure to make it through to the second round at Garmisch-Partenkirchen put paid to his hopes. At Innsbruck, however, he came back strongly to claim second place. “I felt really good! In the second jump, I tried not to jump too aggressively, and it worked. I’m glad because I’ve been improving from jump to jump. Now it’s my ‘home’ competition at Bischofshofen. I know the ski jump really well and I can’t wait for the competition to begin,” Kraft said.

The podium was completed by Norway’s Andreas Stjernen, who moved up into third place in the general classification and he will try to climb even further in the final round at Bischofshofen on Sunday. Kamil Stoch also moved up the standings after finishing fifth at Innsbruck, and he admitted after the event that he had finally felt his confidence returning. “I needed those jumps, because I haven’t felt confident since the start of the tournament. I was sitting at the start gate, trying to do everything as best I could, but slight doubts started to creep in. But in Innsbruck on Thursday, everything was alright,” said the 3-time Olympic champion.

Everyone was keen to move on quickly, as the tournament’s schedule leaves no time to rest. Friday’s competition is already in the past, and now the jumpers’ thoughts will turn to what awaits them in the coming days. The next qualifying session is on Saturday, with the final round in this tournament sponsored by 4F taking place the day after. 

 

 

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Kobayashi just like… Malysz

Ryoyu Kobayashi shows no sign of slowing down, and he confirmed his good form by taking first place in Thursday’s qualifying for the third round of the 67th Four Hills Tournament in Innsbruck.

 

The Japanese jumper has shone since the start of the season, and he appears to be in a class of his own at the moment. He doesn’t succumb to pressure, he copes well with all weather conditions and even when he does make a mistake, he’s able to rectify it during the flight to still outjump his competitors. At Innsbruck on Thursday, he began mission three out of four, with each one having a single goal: ‘to win’. He appears fully capable of winning all four rounds of the competition, something achieved before him by only Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch. In the opinion of many, however, the jumper who Kobayashi most resembles is… Adam Małysz from the 2000/01 season.

 

And what does Małysz himself think? “I’d say I’m shocked, because he’s in great shape both physically and mentally,” the man known as the ‘Eagle from Wisła’ said at Bergisel. “He makes mistakes, for example in qualifying when he messed up. But despite that, he still managed to straighten up and do a long jump. When someone’s in that kind of form, it can stay for a long time. I myself remember the World Championships in Sapporo, after which Hannu Lepistö told me, ‘Now we go for the World Cup.’ I looked at him and said, ‘Come on, Hannu’. But I was unstoppable. And that’s how it looks today with Kobayashi, although I don’t know if his good form hasn’t come a little too early. At the moment, he’s maintaining it, and if he manages to build up a bigger lead, he can be assured of the Crystal Globe,” Małysz said.

 

If the jumpers are not disturbed by the weather on Friday, Kobayashi should again come out on top. Of course, his rivals won’t make it easy for him. Markus Eisenbichler is right behind him, although he performed poorly in qualifying, while Czech Roman Koudelka is getting stronger each round and he was beaten only by Kobayashi on Thursday. The Polish jumpers performed rather poorly, although Dawid Kubacki, who currently stands third in the general classification, jumped well to finish in seventh place. Kamil Stoch and Piotr Żyła were further back, though they did both make it through to the competition proper.

 

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Overcoming the snow and wind

Thursday is qualifying day for the third round of the 67th Four Hills Tournament and a fantastic competition awaits at Bergisel, provided that the weather doesn’t spoil the event.

The first snowfall arrived at Innsbruck on Wednesday and weather forecasts are predicting that the flurries won’t stop for a number of hours. The forecasters also say there is a high possibility of strong winds. So everyone has their fingers crossed that these forecasts will prove to be wrong because a terrific competition lies in store. Thursday is the warm-up to what will happen a day later, when the jumpers will compete in the first ‘Austrian’ leg of the competition. Current leader Ryoyu Kobayashi is the favourite according to the experts, but… right behind him is Markus Eisenbichler, who has turned out to be the surprise package of the first two rounds with two second-place finishes. And he can already feel the rising expectations. German fans have been waiting for one of their countrymen to win this legendary tournament since… 2002 when Sven Hannawald claimed victory! When other German jumpers had the chance to win, it was usually at Innsbruck where they lost it. “We’ve trained there a lot. In the last few years I’ve jumped pretty well at Bergisel. Now I want to do my own thing and find the right rhythm on my first attempt. That’s my way,” Eisenbichler says calmly.

 

Also hoping to continue his good form is the ‘unsung hero’ of the first two rounds, Czech Roman Koudelka, who currently lies in fifth place. Then there is the Norwegian team, who have been left slightly in the shade so far but trainer Alexander Stöckl has already made it clear that victory in the Four Hills Tournament is one of his team’s main goals. Who else? The Austrians also have something to prove. Stefan Kraft had a great start to the competition, making the podium at Oberstdorf, but in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year’s Day he came up against terrible conditions and was knocked out after the first round of jumps.

 

Several Polish jumpers are also among the contenders for the top places. The Austrian trainer of the Polish team believes that three of his team are in with a chance, namely Dawid Kubacki, Kamil Stoch and Piotr Żyła. So the list of contenders is already quite long and there are still several, even dozens, more who can be added to it. Whatever happens, an exciting Thursday and Friday lie in store at Bergisel, just as long as the weather allows for a fair competition.

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A Polish brand with global ambitions – and the Four Hills Tournament is just the beginning.

“We will be closely connected with the Four Hills Tournament for the next four years, and we know how to make the most of those four years,” says Igor Klaja, President of OTCF S.A. and owner of the 4F brand, the Polish sportswear producer which has replaced Audi as the presenting sponsor of the Four Hills Tournament.

“4F, the Four Hills Tournament, a four-year agreement – we like this number. And it’s mutual,” laughs Klaja. During the 67th edition of the competition, the 4F logo will be unmissable. It’s been integrated into the official logo of the tournament, and it will appear on the scoreboards behind the trainers’ stand, at the start line, on advertising hoardings down the slope, by the exit gate, on the start numbers of the jumpers and on the wall behind the podium. In a word, it will be everywhere.

 

“I remember the first Four Hills Tournament that I ever saw live. I think it was back in 1997, when I was a young, poor student. I went skiing in Austria and the whole thing made a massive impression on me. Who would have thought that twenty years later I would be able with 4F to sponsor this event?” reminisces Klaja. Other forms of sponsorship undertaken by 4F have already made their mark in Poland, leading to the company becoming a leading clothing supplier for a number of Olympic teams (six in Pyeongchang), and slowly turning into an internationally-known supplier. “Our association with the Four Hills Tournament is a huge honour for us. We know that this is a different level of international competition here, and we are entering a different realm of sponsorship. After all, we have replaced Audi as the presenting sponsor. This agreement is a huge step for our company,” Klaja continues. Sponsoring such a prestigious event is a huge honour for the Polish company, but 4F does not intend to stop with the Four Hills Tournament. “The scale of this tournament is an honour, but it’s not the extent of our ambitions. We have our eye on even bigger events and becoming even more active on the global sponsorship market,” reveals the owner of 4F, who doesn’t even rule out the possibility of getting involved in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

 

 

Igor Klaja was speaking in Oberstdorf with Michał Błażewicz      

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Kobayashi dominates in the 67th Four Hills Tournament

The Japanese again beat the surprise package of the tournament so far, Markus Eisenbichler, who has proven a revelation by competing with Kobayashi on equal terms.

The venue may have changed, but the winner remained the same following Ryoyu Kobayashi’s victory in the second of the four competitions in the 67th Four Hills Tournament.

Twenty-one thousand fans live and a television audience of millions enjoyed the New Year ski jumping competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. And again they saw victory go to the 22-year-old Japanese jumper, who repeated his triumph from Oberstfdorf. Kobayashi strengthened his position at the top of the general classification and there appears to be no-one able to challenge him for his leader’s top bearing the 4F logo. “I was happy with both of my jumps in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, although the second one wasn’t quite as good,” said Kobayashi later, who is now starting to field questions about whether he can equal the feats of Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch as the only jumpers in the history of this legendary tournament to achieve a clean sweep of all four events during one competition. “I’m not thinking about emulating those two. I just want to jump, so I’m focusing on each test as it comes,” Kobayashi said with a note of caution.

The Japanese again beat the surprise package of the tournament so far, Markus Eisenbichler, who has proven a revelation by competing with Kobayashi on equal terms. The German is clearly very happy with how he’s performing and he seems to be developing all the time. Third was Poland’s Dawid Kubacki. “Dawid showed his class in Monday’s qualifying, which he confirmed during the competition itself by winning a place on the podium,” commented trainer of the Polish team, Stefan Horngacher.

“My hard work is paying off as I’m getting good results and I’m jumping pretty well. All I can do is keep training,” said Kubacki, who showed his good form by winning Monday’s qualifying event. The jumpers will now have a short break as Wednesday is a free day in the tournament, before everyone moves on to Austria for the last two events. Qualifying for the next leg, at Innsbruck, takes place on Thursday.

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Dawid Kubacki heads qualifying at Garmisch-Partenkirchen!

Everything suggests that the competition to come will be of a very high standard as qualifying has already shown that the jumpers are starting to hit form. Dawid Kubacki took first place, although after Ryoyu Kobayashi’s jump, current leader of the general classification in the tournament, it looked like it would be the Japanese who would be heading the leaderboard.

Dawid Kubacki, Ryoyu Kobayashi, Kamil Stoch – those were the top three in qualifying at Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the New Year’s Day event in the 67th Four Hills Tournament.

 

Poor weather, rain and dampness in the air – those were the conditions which the jumpers had to contend with in qualifying for the second event in the 67th Four Hills Tournament. The magic of this legendary tournament brought crowds of over 10,000 out to watch. And on New Year’s Day those numbers should be even bigger, a lot bigger, with weather forecasters predicting light frost and strong sunshine.

And everything suggests that the competition to come will be of a very high standard as qualifying has already shown that the jumpers are starting to hit form. Dawid Kubacki took first place, although after Ryoyu Kobayashi’s jump, current leader of the general classification in the tournament, it looked like it would be the Japanese who would be heading the leaderboard. But the judges noticed Kobayashi’s poor landing, which had an effect on his marks, and as a result Kubacki came out on top. “I was calm, but also impressed because the Japanese jumper did a great jump. Just without the Telemark landing,” Kubacki said later when interviewed with his teammates by several Polish television stations and a large group of journalists. “I’ve been working on keeping my form stable for a long time. My jumps look better day by day. I proved to myself in qualifying that I’m on the right track. I’m happy but I don’t forget that I’ve still got something in reserve. And that’s my main goal for the coming days and the rest of the tournament,” he said. And he added, “Every good, long jump brings great emotions. It doesn’t matter if it’s in competition or in training. We’re doing what we love, so when things go well, there are always lots of emotions.”

Speaking earlier to the journalists, Kamil Stoch, who finished third in qualifying at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, said: “It was a good, positive day and even though the weather is worse, I still felt good. The jumps were a little easier but they required a lot of attention and concentration. There are some things that I’m working on, and every day I know better what I’m doing.” He also drew attention to the difficulties caused by the uneven track down the jump. “We can’t expect miracles with such rain. But it was possible to do long jumps. We just have to get used to how it is,” said the three-time Olympic champion and now… fashion designer, following his recent collaboration with 4F, main sponsor of the Four Hills Tournament, on a clothing range which is still currently on the market.

The pre-event favourites all performed well. In fourth place was Markus Eisenbichler, who came second only to Kobayashi in Oberstdorf. Karl Geiger finished in sixth place, and Stephan Leyhe in eighth, so Werner Schuster, the German team trainer, will be highly satisfied. The Austrian team fared worse, though, with their best jumper, Daniel Huber, finishing in 22nd position. But they all still made it through to the competition proper.

Just after the interviews were completed, the slopes were empty. The competitors headed back to their hotels, but they’ll have no chance to see in the New Year in style. “We’ll probably be in bed before midnight. We have to be in good shape for tomorrow,” the jumpers said after qualifying had finished.

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Kobayashi triumphs in Oberstdorf

Before the competition, most experts had tipped Kobayashi for victory and they were proved right when the 22-year-old jumper made his eighth start of the season, and claimed his fifth victory!

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi, German Markus Eisenbichler and Austrian Stefan Kraft – that’s how the podium looked after the first event of the Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf.

Before the competition, most experts had tipped Kobayashi for victory and they were proved right when the 22-year-old jumper made his eighth start of the season, and claimed his fifth victory! In the process he became only the fourth Japanese jumper in history (and the first since 2001) to triumph in one of the legendary tournament’s events. And everything points to Ryoyu’s incredible streak continuing. Speaking after the competition, he said with a smile on his face that he doesn’t feel the pressure and he’s ready to fight on. He did have some anxious moments during the competition in Bavaria, however. After his second jump, he had to stand by the gate bearing the 4F logo, the event’s main sponsor, for what seemed like an age before his result was confirmed. In the end, it turned out that he had beaten Eisenbichler by a mere 0.4 points. The home favourite had thousands of fans cheering him on and he sent them all home happy with his performance. Surprisingly, this was his first time on the podium this season. Just like it was for Kraft too.

“Qualifying showed me that I can compete, but despite that I’m keeping my feet on the ground,” Kraft said cautiously just before the tournament started. The Austrian had won Saturday’s qualifying but he’d been short of confidence. On Sunday, however, he proved how strong he is. He knows how to win as he’s a highly talented competitor with not only two World Championship gold medals and a Crystal Globe to his name, but also victory in the 2014/15 Four Hills Tournament. He hasn’t been jumping well recently, but on Sunday he gave himself and all Austrian fans grounds for optimism. Now Kraft, Eisenbichler and the rest will have to do it all over again. With no time to rest after Oberstdorf, qualifying starts in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Monday, with the next competition proper on New Year’s Day.

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Austrian Stefan Kraft was the star of qualifying for the first event of the Four Hills Tournament. Best Polish finisher was Piotr Żyła, who came third.

Saturday’s qualifying event attracted crowds of over 15,500 people, all of whom helped to create a fantastic atmosphere.

Anyone interested in seeing what a great sporting celebration looks like should take a look at events on Saturday and Sunday in Oberstdorf, where the 67th Four Hills Tournament has just started. Saturday’s qualifying event attracted crowds of over 15,500 people, all of whom helped to create a fantastic atmosphere.

Everyone in the stands, and those watching back home on tv, certainly had no regrets as the standard during qualifying was set extremely high. Saturday’s winner in great style turned out to be Austrian Stefan Kraft. Victorious in this competition in the 2014/15 season, recent performances had signalled a return to top form, and this was confirmed on Saturday. Current World Cup leader Ryoyu Kobayashi came second, with the Polish jumper Piotr Żyła finishing in third. The Pole, as usual, passed through the media zone without a word. More talkative though was Kamil Stoch, who most experts have down as one of the favourites to win the whole tournament.

“I lacked the good, long jumps which I like. Maybe it’s good as I know that I can do better. It’s always good to have something to work on. I don’t put pressure on myself that I have to achieve something, I just give everything I have. I like to jump far, it brings me a lot of joy” – said Stoch, winner of the last two editions of this joint German-Austrian event.

The jumper from LKS Ząb ski club also praised the atmosphere in the stands. “During qualifying, the stands were almost completely full. We like it when people watch us and encourage us to do long jumps. We like people to be proud of us as that brings us even greater joy” – Stoch continued.

And you can be sure that it will get even better on Sunday. The competition starts at 4:30 pm.

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That’s the magic of the Four Hills Tournament

The Four Hills Tournament is a special event where the winner can often go down in sporting history. Even if they never manage to repeat the feat.

We don’t need to go so far back in ski jumping history to understand that success in the Four Hills Tournament can bring about sporting immortality. It’s enough to look at the list of names of the people who’ve stood on the podium at this great event over the last few years to see that – they include such greats as Kamil Stoch, Peter Prevc, Stefan Kraft, Severin Freund, Thomas Morgenstern, Simon Ammann and Thomas Diethart… hang on a moment, who’s that last one? It certainly isn’t a name known to those who don’t follow the world of ski jumping closely.

The biggest puzzle in ski jumping history

He’s a 22-year-old Austrian who in just ten days went from being a complete unknown and an average jumper to a global sports star. After deciding to become a ski jumper, Diethart trained hard in the lowlands around his home town, mostly achieving mediocre results. By winter 2013/14, he still hadn’t achieved the success he’d hoped for. Obviously, he wouldn’t even dream of standing on the podium of the Continental Cup – the second tier of ski jumping competitions. But despite everything, the coaches continued to give him chances. At the end of 2013, ‘Didl’ went to Rena in Norway for the Continental Cup, and his two 6th place finishes there led to head coach Alexander Pointner taking him to the competition in Engelberg. There he achieved the best (or so it seemed) results of his career (a 4th and 6th place) and he was given a ‘last minute’ call-up to the 2014 Four Hills Tournament.

What happened next, as we all know, was that the victories in Innsbruck and Bischofshofen which made his name were unfortunately his first and last at that elite level. That same winter, Diethart won an Olympic team silver medal in Sochi, but then he simply disappeared. He floated around ski jumping’s second and third tiers, gave interviews in which he suggested a psychological breakdown, and suffered painful falls both during training and in competition. Less than a year after one particularly big crash, he announced that he would never jump again.

“I resigned myself to being at the bottom of this hole and never getting out – instead of shouting out: ‘Hey, all of this can be fixed’. Nothing was working for me and I was getting injuries. I trained hard, felt well-prepared and ready to come back. Until I went to another competition, and then what happened? Nothing came off for me. It was a vicious circle,” laments this forgotten hero, who remains probably the biggest puzzle in the 66-year history of the famous German-Austrian competition. And yet he will still go down in the annals of ski jumping history because he achieved something which most can only dream about.

Unexpected finishes on the podium

Since the time when Adam Małysz was setting the Four Hills Tournament alight at the turn of the century, the tournament has generally been won by recognised and experienced jumpers. But with three places on the podium, it was often enough to be just a decent jumper to claim one of them. That’s how we remember the names of Peter Žonta and Michael Neumayer. For the former, the only thing he could boast about, besides his success in the Four Hills Tournament, was the Olympic team bronze medal that he won in Salt Lake City. He’d seen success as a junior, but he’d never managed to achieve any kind of spectacular individual success. And then, at the start of 2004, the magic of the tournament got to work. After the German sections of the competition, it seemed that the great Sigurd Pettersen would walk away with the title but Žonta unexpectedly outjumped the brilliant Norwegian to claim the first victory of his career. He stood on the podium for the first time at Bergisel and spurred on by this success took second place in Bischofshofen. This, combined with good results in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, gave him third place in the Four Hills general classification. Slovenians believed they had unearthed a new star, but they soon discovered that a star that burns brightly can fade just as quickly. Žonta never again featured prominently in any ski jumping tournament and he finished his career very much on the sidelines.

Neumayer, who stood on the podium of the Four Hills at the start of 2008, also didn’t have many World Cup victories to his name, but at least he was a regular fixture in the German team for a number of years. Astonishingly, his success in the Four Hills Tournament came with just one podium finish (his third-place finish in Garmisch-Partenkirchen being the first time he’d made the top three in his career). In the other competitions, he came seventh twice and in the tournament finale, just tenth. Neumayer finished his career as ‘an unlucky guy who never won anything’, but he still has the right to feel fulfilled. Besides his third place in that memorable tournament, which remains his only significant individual success, he also won an Olympic team silver medal, three World Championship medals and one for ski flying. Not a bad balance for someone who was once labelled the ski jumper with the ugliest style in the world.

An acrobat on skis
Besides Diethart, there is one other youngster from Austria who also deserves a special mention on the list of tournament surprises from the 21st century – a certain 13-year-old who made a famous double jump in Bischofshofen. His name is Thomas Thurnbichler.

The fans standing by the side of the slope couldn’t believe their eyes when, after a very short flight, instead of skiing on down, he jumped up again on the edge of the landing zone and managed to fly down as far as the construction point. He was greeted with thunderous applause and the journalists all flocked to interview him. He was regarded as a huge talent, but unfortunately, apart from a few successes as a junior, he was unable to achieve anything of note. His feat in 2003 turned out to be the most important jump of his life and when he finally completed his last jump, just eight years later, the moment passed almost unnoticed.

 

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How in 1966 a Pole stole the show

In 1966, Stanisław Marusarz became the biggest star of the Four Hills Tournament, even though he… was not entered for the competition.

There is probably not a single ski fan who would not remember the turn of 2000 and 2001. This is when Adam Malysz rose to stardom in the Four Hills Tournament. Although he was the first of our representatives to win this prestigious competition, the “Eagle from Wisła” was not the first Pole who went down in its history.
Stanisław Marusarz achieved it in 1966. The legendary ski jumper of the interwar period participated in the 14th edition of the German-Austrian competition as a guest of honour. He was supposed to be the life and soul of the party, talk about his career and enjoy watching his successors, but the role of the mascot did not suit him particularly well. He was watching his teammates (i.a. Józef Przybyła, Piotr Wala and Antoni Łaciak) perform and when a tournament caravan came from Oberstdorf to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Pole had a crazy idea.
“The first guest of honour was Birger Ruud, I was the second one to be invited. Birger is over 60 years old, doing back and front flips on the court. So I’m thinking: What should I do now as the second guest of honour?” – recalls Marusarz in the film “Dziadek”. “Give me skis, I’m going to jump!” – suddenly announced the 53-year-old Pole, who has not made a single jump in 9 seasons. He stood before the Germans wearing a suit, a tie and a wide smile, hiding in his head the motivation to show the world that although he was sentenced to death during the war, he managed to escape death and he can do what he loves again.
The starter at the top of the inrun fell into dismay. “The meditations and bargains in the judge’s stand took almost a quarter of an hour. Finally, not only was the jump allowed, but the organisers also told the most important facts from my biography through megaphones, starting from 1927.” – this is how Marusarz described these moments in his autobiography. He borrowed skis from Józef Kocyan and one of the Germans borrowed him ski boots which were so big that he had to stuff them with toilet paper.
“There was absolute silence. I was aware that I had to make a correct jump in terms of style and not so much a long one as a nicely finished one. I cannot afford to fall! The moment I put on my skis, all of my nerves vanished. I was sliding perfectly towards the take-off, bounced off lightly and, keeping my hands at my sides, I landed safely and softly. Doing the last manoeuvre already on the landing slope, I dashed along the first rows of the stands. (…) People were going crazy. Later I was told that no one had such a safe landing in this competition. I jumped 66 meters,” recalled the man from Zakopane.
When he stopped, the famous Bjoern Wirkola and others carried him on their shoulders for a few minutes on the landing slope. Marusarz became a hero. Local newspapers wrote: “Hats off for a world skiing veteran, an extraordinary Pole”, and Austrians from Innsbruck already had a plan for him to do the same in Austria. Of course the “Grandfather” agreed, but when he came out on the Bergisel inrun, he was terrified by the view of the cemetery just behind the hill. It sent shivers down his spine but he slid down the inrun, bounced off and flew almost 70 metres in great style. Of course they expected the same in Bischofshofen, but Marusarz used diplomatic reasons as an excuse. “If there was only one jump in Germany, there will also be one jump in Austria,” he concluded.
Marusarz made his last jump in 1979 for the film about himself. He was 66 years old. He regretted that in 1989, when the Great Krokiew was named after him, bad weather conditions prevailed during the ceremony. He also wanted to jump then. Birger Ruud, his once great rival, said about the Pole: “This is a phenomenon of victory of physical prowess over time.”

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History. Prestige. Challenge. Four Hills Tournament.

Some events have really beautiful history behind them. The championship that will last forever in sportsmen’s minds. In ski jumping world, it’s the Four Hills Tournament.

We are waiting for the 67th edition of this amazing event the history of which dates back to 1953. 4F brand has become the presenting sponsor of this year’s championship.

It starts 30th December in Oberstdorf. On New Year’s Day, the jumpers take part in the traditional championship in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Then, the best jumpers go to Innsbruck on 4th January to finally end the competition in Bischofshofen two days after. It’s a real race, a ski jumping marathon, approached by everyone who dreams about the success. It is physically and mentally demanding as it involves great pressure.

“One day more and I would loose all of my hair or die”, said Sven Hannawald after the championship in 2001/2002 season. It was the 50th edition and the first when one jumper managed to win all four contests. A few months ago, another jumper, Kamil Stoch, went in his footsteps (or rather skisteps). “When I took him in my arms, I felt how tired he was. Then I realised the great pressure he has experienced”, said Hannawald, the first one to congratulate Stoch. Four Hills Tournament wasn’t the only great success of the German jumper (he won medals in the Winter Olympics and World Championships after all), but he is most remembered for his performance on the Four Hills Why? Because of the magic of the event. Something that cannot be reasonably understood. The prestige building up for all those years.

How did it all start? The first idea to create such a contest emerged in 1949 in Partenkirchen. Three years later, the final plan was ready. The last initiator and the honorary president of the event, Putzl Pepeunig, died in 1999 and was buried on the cemetery near the Bergisel ski jumping hill in Innsbruck.
The Four Hills Tournament has always been a backdrop for the great history of success. Janne Ahonen, the legend of ski jumping, has won the tournament five times! He was also second five times, and he stood on the podium as many as twenty nine times in individual contests! The so-called “silent Finn” has another great achievement among his many successes. In 2005/2006 season, he won ex aequo with Jakub Janda, the champion from Czech Republic. This scenario has never happened before or after. Another great and worth mentioning figure is Peter Prevc. Although the Slovene didn’t win all four contests in one edition, his total score of 1139.4 points in the 2015/16 season may be considered a success. We may enumerate many more legends that were born or proven themselves here such as: Helmut Recknagel, Bjoern Wirkola or Jens Weissflog. Figures like Andreas Goldberger, Matti Nykänen, Gregor Schlierenzauer or Thomas Morgenstern were the Four Hills Tournament Champions as well. However, among them, there is a great ski jumper who still cannot catch his dream: Simon Ammann. He won the silver two times, but we all know what he is heading for.
“Such a victory is what every ski jumper waits for. Everyone knows the event, and everyone wants to shine and win. Me too. Of course, I had many other triumphs but winning this contest is something I dream of”, said once the four-time Olympic champion. He surely will try this time as well, but the queue to the victory is very long.

The largest number of victories in overall standings of the Four Hills Tournament

  1. Janne Ahonen (Finland)

    5 (1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008)

  2. Jens Weissflog (East Germany/Germany)

    4 (1984, 1985, 1991, 1996)

  3. Helmut Recknagel (East Germany)

    3 (1958, 1959, 1961)

  4. Bjoern Wirkola (Norway)

    3 (1967, 1968, 1969)

  5. Veikko Kankkonen (Finland)

    2 (1964, 1966)

  6. Jochen Danneberg (East Germany)

    2 (1976, 1977)

  7. Hubert Neuper (Austria)

    2 (1980, 1981)

  8. Matti Nykänen (Finland)

    2 (1983, 1988)

  9. Ernst Vettori (Austria)

    2 (1986, 1987)

  10. Andreas Goldberger (Austria)

    2 (1993, 1995)

  11. Gregor Schlierenzauer (Austria)

    2 (2012, 2013)

  12. Kamil Stoch (Poland)

    2 (2017, 2018)

Victories in overall standings by countries

  1. Austria 16

  2. Germany/West Germany/East Germany 16

  3. Finland 16

  4. Norway 10

  5. Poland 3

  6. Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia 2

  7. Slovenia 2

  8. Japan 1

  9. USSR 1

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4f – presenting Sponsor of the Four Hills Tournament

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WHO ARE WE?

The 4F brand belongs to OTCF, which specialises in the development, production and sale of high-class sportswear and accessories.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to inspire people to begin their adventure with sport and encourage them to make physical activity a part of their everyday life.

FAITHFUL TO OURSELVES

This is our philosophy. And we want to attract such people from all over the world. All those for whom internal motivation constitutes an important factor rather than an external goal. Explorers who want to know what’s behind the next turn and how to break their own records. Sport is not a tape measure, nor a stopwatch. It is a culture and lifestyle of which we are a part.

OUR VALUES

We believe that physical activity, a healthy lifestyle and sporting attitudes serve people and society.

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We are present in 38 countries and we run over 230 own stores on 3 continents – in Europe, Asia and North America. 4F clothing and accessories can be purchased worldwide in online shops and via social media (Facebook & Instagram).

4F AS THE STRATEGIC SPONSOR OF THE FOUR HILLS TOURNAMENT

Winter sports are in the DNA of the 4F brand

since 2007

we have been cooperating with the Polish Ski Federation

since 2010

we have been cooperating with the Polish Biathlon Association

since 2014

we have been cooperating with the Polish Speed Skating Association

since 2018

we have been cooperating with the Slovak Biathlon Association

Moreover, we cooperate with the Polish, Latvian, Serbian, Croatian, Greek and Macedonian Olympic Committees, preparing official sportswear for the summer and winter games.

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In the world of sport there are events that arouse the imagination of fans more than any other events. A cycling peloton has Tour de France, tennis players’ hearts beat faster at the thought of Wimbledon and in the ski jumping world the Four Hills Tournament has an absolutely unique status.

That is why the 4F brand, which is strongly associated with winter sports, became the Strategic Sponsor of the Four Hills Tournament in 2018.

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