Marius Lindback has made headlines in Norway for the past week, after the 21-year-old from Rælingen made some spectacular ski jumps during the annual competition in the Alps known as Hoppuka. The 21-year-old almost ended up winning the top prize and claimed to be thrilled with his second-place finish.
“I have practiced so much, training on both basic jumps and good technique,” Lindback told state broadcaster NRK as he tried to explain how he became of the comet of the competition. “I’m thrilled that I managed so many good jumps during the tournament. It means a lot.”
It also meant a lot to Norway’s entire national ski jumping team, which has been hit hard by injuries and, most seriously, by how former ski jumper and current team official Bjørn Einar Romøren is battling cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy as Hoppuka started. He’s fighting the biggest battle of them all.
“There have been so many challenges in the past year,” national team coach Alexander Stöckl told newspaper Aftenposten last week. “We have to stand together as a team and tackle each challenge.”
Clas Brede Bråthen, head of the Norwegian ski federation’s ski jumping division, was already jubilant when Lindvik landed beautifully last Thursday and soared to the top of the standings while in Innsbruck. Lindvik’s performance was viewed as a victory for the whole team, and then he kept on jumping well as the competition moved on to other venues before finally ending in Bischofshofen on Monday.
Lindvik ended in third place on the last day of the tournament, with jumps of 139- and 137 meters. Dawid Kubacki of Poland was best, however, at 143 meters, followed by Karl Geiger of Tyskland at 140 meters after the first round. In the end, however, Lindvik’s jumps and points left him edging out Geiger and winding up second in the overall tournament standings behind Kubacki.
It remains Norway’s best presentation since Anders Jacobsen did the same at Hoppuka in the 2012-2013 season. Now the rest of the team is keen to learn from the junior Lindvik.
“This is what I get up every morning to do, every single day, to become the world’s best ski jumper,” Lindvik told NRK. “I guess you can call this a breakthrough.”