Polish-American fans celebrate Super Team title at FIS Ski Jumping World Cup
Granerud solidifies top spot in World Cup rankings
The FIS Ski Jumping World Cup came to a close Sunday afternoon with World Cup points leader Halvor Egner Granerud of Norway standing on the top step of the podium with the 23rd World Cup victory of his career. It was the first time Lake Placid hosted a World Cup ski jumping event since 1990, and the Polish-American community came out in droves to cheer on their ski jumping heroes.
Sunday’s Individual event was the last of three competitions held at the Olympic Jumping Complex over the weekend. After Friday’s Qualification round was cancelled, the world’s best jumpers competed in an Individual event Saturday morning, followed by the men’s World Cup debut of Super Team in the afternoon. Spectator attendance for the weekend was 15,330 people, with 8,180 on Saturday and 7,150 on Sunday.
Polish jumpers Piotr Zyla and Dawid Kubacki delighted their loyal fan base Saturday night with a rousing victory in the inaugural Super Team event. The crowd roared as Kubacki, the second-ranked jumper in the world, landed his second jump to ensure his team a first-place finish over the Austrian team of Daniel Tschofenig and Stefan Kraft. The Japanese team of Naoki Nakamura and Olympic gold medalist Ryoyu Kobayashi placed third.
“We are going to create a Poland tour with the four locations: Wisla, Zakopane, Stzczyrk and Lake Placid. This is like a home game here,” said Kubacki, who took time to sign autographs and shake hands with fans between jumps. “We are especially happy also for all the fans here that we managed to win today. This is a historic victory and it makes us a bit proud.”
Earlier in the day Saturday, Andreas Wellinger of Germany earned his first World Cup victory in five seasons, outscoring second-place Kobayashi and Tschofenig. Wellinger, an Olympic gold medalist in 2018 and world champion in 2017, had a strong showing in Lake Placid with a second-place finish in Sunday’s Individual and fourth place with teammate Karl Geiger in the Super Team event.
“That was an awesome competition today,” Wellinger said Sunday. “The conditions and the weather were a dream, my jumps on super level, actually even better than yesterday, but today someone else was just better. But, of course, I am more than satisfied with this weekend. Finally on the podium again.”
Granerud, the 2020-21 overall World Cup points champion, has racked up 1,652 points so far this season, with one more World Cup, Feb. 16-19 in Romania, before to the World Championships Feb. 24-March 4 in Planica, Slovenia. Granerud placed seventh in Saurday’s Individual competition and sixth in the Super Team event with teammate Marius Lindvick.
“I had to get used to this facility and after the first two days didn’t go according to my wishes, it worked today, today my jumps were good and I am very happy with myself and my victory,” Granerud said after Sunday’s awards ceremony.
Kubacki is second in the overall World Cup standings with 1,359 points, followed by Slovenia’s Anze Lanisek (1,096 points), Kraft (1,078), Zyla (822), Kobayashi (704) and Wellinger (643).
The United States was represented by Tate Frantz, a 17-year-old from Lake Placid competing in his first World Cup, Casey Larson, Andrew Urlaub, Erik Belshaw and Decker Dean. Larson turned in the top American performances with a 35th-place finish Saturday and 34th on Sunday.
“Definitely some nerves up there at the top because I want to make a good impression and everything,” Frantz said. “Regardless of how it ended up, I’m just glad to be out here. It was fun to be out here with all the guys.”
Following the 1980 Olympics, Lake Placid hosted the FIS World Cup eight years in a row between 1983 and 1990. The latest World Cup ski jumping event on U.S. soil was in 2002 in Park City, Utah. The recently upgraded Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid is the only facility homologated for year-round jumping in North America.
“We are extremely happy about the event,” FIS Ski Jumping Race Director Sandro Pertile said. “It was not easy to prepare a World Cup event in ski jumping in less than six months. I think this is a good example when people are working together and join their energy, you can reach an expected result.
“I think that the competition was amazing, fantastic. With beautiful weather conditions, long jumps and a super-nice crowd at the bottom of the hill. Reached a very, very high result and we are all very happy.”