They flew through the air with what seemed like the greatest of ease, and landed in first place with gold medals both for Norway’s ski jumping team and for Daniel-André Tande. He took his first individual World Championship in ski flying at Oberstdorf on Saturday, and shed a few tears of joy.
The ski-flying team, of which Tande is also a member, followed up on Sunday with another victory in team competition, spurring the second royal greetings in as many days.
“CONGRATULATIONS” wrote Norway’s King Harald V in all capital letters for what he called a “fantastic” performance and “convincing jumping,” not least for “the gold medal and word champion titles!”
The king had already congratulated 23-year-old Tande, a modest young man from Kongsberg who was emotionally overcome by his own achievement. He choked up during an interview with Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) and had to take a time-out.
“There are lots of feelings that are swirling inside him right now,” Norway’s sports chief Clas Brede Bråthen told newspaper Aftenposten. “And not just for him. This is just so well-deserved. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world that doesn’t wish him the best with this.”
Tande soared after takeoff and landed at the 200-meter mark to become the new Ski Flying World Champion. Kamil Stoch of Poland won the silver medal and Richard Freitag of Germany the bronze. Conditions were difficult and the jury had to cancel the fourth round of competition because of strong winds that made the ski flying too dangerous.
After he composed himself, Tande called his World Champion title “definitely a dream come true. This is something you dream about since you’re small. It’s an indescribable feeling to finally get it.” He had to grope for words when surrounded by Norwegian reporters and other well-wishers.
And then the team comprised of Tande, Andreas Stjernen, Johann André Forfang and Robert Johannsson won again on Sunday. “It’s a joy to be able to send another greeting from His Majesty the King to the team that took gold in ski flying during the World Championships in ski flying,” read the email sent from the Royal Palace in Oslo to Bråthen. He read the king’s personal message (signed simply “Harald R”) aloud to the team, which celebrated with a good dinner at their hotel Sunday night.
Bråthen thanked the ski jumpers profusely, wearing a red Kongsberg tied for the occasion.