New ski jumping star wins again

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Daniel-André Tande made another sensational ski jump at the Four Hills competition going on in the alps this week, and now leads the entire tournament. Tande, a 22-year-old from modest means in Kongsberg, has become Norway’s new national ski jumping star almost overnight.

Daniel-André Tande (center) won his first World Cup in ski jumping on New Year’s Day. On Wednesday he did it again. At left on Sunday, Kamil Stoch of Poland (left) and at right, Stefan Kraft (Austria). Both later made mistakes on Wednesday, putting Tande in the overall lead. PHOTO: FIS

Tande was even joined on the winners’ podium by another Norwegian, Robert Johansson, who placed second. “This is just fantastic,” Clas Brede Bråthen, chief of the Norwegian ski jumping team, told state broadcaster NRK. “It has been a very good day for us.”

Tande and Johansson led in the first half of the jumping, now in Innsbruck. When strong winds forced cancellation of the second half, their dual victory was assured.

It’s Tande’s second victory after also winning in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year’s Day. That victory prompted both his mother and Tande himself to cry with joy: NRK has reported that the young Tande has worked hard and had so little money for earlier competitions and training camps that he slept in a tent when away from home to save on lodging bills. Now he stands to wins some financial awards as well as medals to symbolize his success.

The modest Tande gives his teammates credit for his success. “I don’t think I, or any of us, could have jumped so well on skis if we didn’t have the team we have now,” Tande told newspaper Aftenposten after his first major win. “There is so much positive energy in this team. I think it’s a sign of strength that even if the whole team doesn’t do well, the mood is on top.”

After winning on Sunday, with jumps of 138 and 142 meters, he jumped 128.5 meters on Wednesday and won 2.6 points ahead of Johansson. “Just great,” Tande told NRK. Commentators said Johansson’s second-place was an even bigger sensation because his best placement had been 14th place in the World Cup competition before jumping 133 meters on Wednesday. That was the longest jump of the day while Tande seized first place on points.

Another Norwegian, Andreas Stjernen, also delivered a strong jump, landing at 122.5 meters and fifth place. “This was great, and with a Norwegian double-victory, this makes history,” said NRK commentator Arne Scheie. “We can hardly believe it.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund