Ski jumpers try to keep smiling

Their coach had ordered them to smile before taking off from the huge new Holmenkollen Ski Jump in Oslo, but it ended up not helping very much. After doing well in the first round, Norway’s ski jumpers failed to win any medals, which instead were claimed by Austria and Switzerland.

Norwegian ski jumper Anders Jacobsen soars off Holmenkollen, but wound up in 9th place at Thursday's world championship competition. PHOTO: Stian Broch/Oslo 2011

Austria emerged as the winner of both the gold and the silver medals in the men’s individual jumping off Holmenkollen Thursday evening, with Gregor Schlierenzauer on top with jumps of 130 and 134.5 meters and 277.5 points, followed by his fellow Austrian Thomas Morgenstern with jumps of 133 and 131 meters and 277.2 points.

The winners were (from left): Thomas Morgenstern of Austria (silver), fellow Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer (gold) and Simon Ammann of Switzerland. PHOTO: Stian Broch/Oslo 2011

Switzerland captured the bronze medal at Holmenkollen, with Simon Ammann jumping 129.5 and 134.5 meters and chalking up 274.3 points. Ammann described the festive, cheering crowds at Holmenkollen as “crazy,” telling Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that he was “really happy” with his medal.

“I’m proud to be on the podium at Holmenkollen,” said Ammann, who has won there before.

The best Norwegian in Thursday’s competition was Anders Bardal in seventh place. He started out very well, with a jump of 133.5 meters, but his second jump landed at a relatively disappointing 125 meters, leaving him with just 263.8 points (which include merits or demerits for such things as style and landing.)

The next Norwegian was popular Anders Jacobsen, who also landed a solid first jump of 134 meters, but only 123 meters on his second jump. He ended ninth and was bitterly disappointed during a brief interview with NRK. Both Bardal and Jacobsen seemed on the verge of tears, having wanted badly to win before the tens of thousands of screaming fans on home turf.

Tom Hilde was among the few Norwegians who kept smiling even though he actually fell after his first jump. He ended up in 10th place, while Johan Remen Evensen of Norway was 14th.

They all were to get another chance in team competition off the Holmenkollen jump on Saturday, the second-to-last event at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships (Ski-VM) starting at 3:30pm. Ski-VM ends on Sunday with the men’s gruelling 50-kilometer race.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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