Carina Vogt (Germany) stunned favourite Sara Takanashi (Japan) to win the first Olympic gold medal in women’s ski jumping on Tuesday night at RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre.
Vogt, who has never won a world cup event, led after her first round jump of 103m and held on to win with a final round jump of 97.5m. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (Austria) moved up from fifth after the first round to win silver, while Coline Mattel (France) claimed bronze.
Takanashi, who was third after the first round, finished in fourth place. She had not missed the podium in her last 19 world cup events entering Sochi 2014.
Vogt’s victory is the first by a German woman in a major ski jumping competition since the inception of women’s world championship and world cup events.
The fact is Tuesday night’s debut of women ski jumpers on the Olympic stage provided plenty of drama on many fronts: Jerome and teammate Lindsey Van, the sport’s first world champion from 2009 who finished 15th Tuesdaynight, both realized their Olympic dream after so many years of fighting to make it a reality.
“It was the best experience ever. I had a lot of emotion coming in to it. I’m surprised I didn’t cry,” Van said. “I feel way better now and more relieved than in any time in my whole career. It’s the first time in my life I’m living in the now and not talking about what I’m going to do. Today made me extremely happy.”
Fellow American and 2013 World Champion Sarah Hendrickson, who reached the pinnacle of the sport last season before injuring her knee in August, completed a grueling rehabilitation just to make the Olympic team and to jump in these Games. She finished 21st.
“I think we put on an awesome show tonight and the world saw what we we’ve been working for,” Hendrickson said.
“I just wanted to make it to Sochi. Once I was named to the team I wanted more. But after my training jumps this week and after my knee was giving me a lot of hassle I had to step back and talk to my coach and realize a medal might not be a reality,” she said. “I’m proud to be here and proud of this one.”
Women’s Olympic Normal Hill Competition
RusSki Gorki Jumping Center (HS 106)
1. Carina Vogt, Germany, 103.0, 97.5; 247.4
2. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, Austria, 98.5, 104.5; 246.2
3. Coline Mattel, France, 99.5, 97.5; 245.2
4. Sara Takanashi, Japan, 100.0, 98.5; 243.0
5. Evelyn Insam, Italy, 98.5, 99.0; 242.2
10. Jessica Jerome, 97.0, 99.0; 234.1
15. Lindsey Van, 97.0, 94.5; 227.2
21. Sarah Hendrickson, 94.0, 91.5; 217.6