Polish fans ‘saved’ Holmenkollen party

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Most of the cheering at the annual World Cup ski jumping competition at Holmenkollen in Oslo on Sunday came once again from enthusiastic Polish ski jumping fans, not the Norwegians. The Poles made their presence in the arena known, but even a Polish jumper wondered why Norwegian fans were so outnumbered.

People from Poland often make up a major portion of the crowd at ski jumping competitions at Holmenkollen in Oslo, like this one a few years ago. Now they're emerging as a political force as well. PHOTO: Views and News

Polish flags were flying once again at Holmenkollen on Sunday, just as they were here in an earlier competition, with Polish ski jumping fans doing much more cheering than the Norwegians. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

“I was very disappointed,” Kamil Stoch, a 27-year-old Polish ski jumper who won the bronze medal, told Oslo newspaper Dagbladet. He was happy that his fellow Poles noisily cheered him on and blanketed the arena with Polish flags, but he seemed to almost feel sorry for his Norwegian ski jumping rivals.

He noted that Norway’s own Rune Velta won the ski jumping World Championship just a few weeks ago, and that Norway also won the gold medal for team jumping. “Nevertheless there are still more folks from Poland here,” Stoch told Dagbladet. “It’s very sad.”

A reported 25,000 people turned out for the event in mostly sunny weather on Sunday. There were lots of Norwegian flags flying when Norway’s cross-country ski queen Marit Bjørgen crossed the finish line first after the women’s 30-kilomter race earlier in the day, followed by fellow Norwegians Therese Johaug and Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen. There just wasn’t as much Norwegian enthusiasm for the jumpers.

“The atmosphere was good, but that was because of the Polish fans,” Stoch said. Severin Freund of Germany won the competition, with Anders Bardal and Anders Jacobsen placing the best among the Norwegians in sixth and seventh place respectively. Both gave the Polish fans credit for the cheering, not their fellow Norwegians.

In other action during the annual Holmenkollen Ski Festival, Sara Takanashi won the women’s ski jumping on Friday evening, with Maren Lundby placing best among the Norwegians in 13th place. Sjur Røthe of Norway won the men’s 50-kilometer race on Saturday, ahead of Dario Cologna of Switzerland who took silver and Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who won bronze. Sundby, though, also won the overall World Cup for the season, followed by Cologna and Petter Northug of Norway.

The events at Holmenkollen ended the World Cup skiing season for this year. While most of the skiers can now take some time off, Northug will be back in a courtroom, defending himself against a lawsuit filed by his former partners in Nye Høyder. They’re suing Northug for up to NOK 2 million after he broke his three-year contract with them. Northug’s main sponsor Coop had demanded that Northug end his cooperation with Nye Høyder after a disappointing skiing season that ended with Northug’s drunk-driving crash last spring.

newsinenglish.no staff