Germany’s Carina Vogt jumps into the history books in Sochi
Women’s event debuting in Russia after legal battle in Vancouver four years ago
Carina Vogt of Germany won the women’s Normal Hill Individual ski jump at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Centre. Photograph: Lars Baron/Getty Images
Germany’s Carina Vogt made history by being crowned the first Olympic women’s ski jump champion after a surprise victory at the RusSki Gorki Center above Rosa Khutor on Tuesday night.
Vogt held onto her first round lead ahead of silver medallist Danila Iraschko-Stolz of Austria, whose second round jump of 104.5m was clearly the biggest of the night but was qualified due to wind factor.
Vogt led with a first round 103m and although she only managed 97.5m in the second round, her jump was high on style and enough to narrowly cling on to gold.
Coline Mattel of France took bronze ahead of hot favourite Sara Takanashi, who had finished on the podium in all 11 World Cup events this year but was forced to settle for fourth. The 17-year-old Takanashi stood third after a first round jump of 100m but her second round 98.5m meant she dropped behind Irashko-Stolz, who improved from fifth after the first round.
Takanashi, who was cheered by a sizeable contingent of Japanese supporters, said: “I couldn’t jump the way I wanted on both attempts. I came here wanting to do my best and I’m incredibly disappointed.”
The women rose to the occasion with the jumps of both Vogt and Iraschko-Stolz bigger than all those recorded in the men’s normal hill event on Sunday, bar winner Kamil Stoch, although the women launch themselves from a slightly higher start gate.
The 22-year-old Vogt had claimed eight World Cup podiums including four second place finishes this season, but was yet to record a victory. Vogt said: “I can’t find the right words — I’m just speechless because training yesterday was not so good.
“I’ve not won a World Cup until now. It’s unbelievable — I wouldn’t have imagined this one day before.”
The night itself marked a victory for the likes of Iraschko-Stolz and American veteran Lindsey Van, who were among a group of 15 athletes who unsuccessfully sued the organisers of the 2010 Vancouver Games in a bid to force the sport’s inclusion.
Iraschko-Stolz is also openly gay and said this week that controversy over Russia’s anti-gay laws were “being blown up bigger than it is”.
The Austrian said: “It was a very good feeling — my best jump today. I was a little bit shocked because I jumped so far and my landing was not very good, but I think I lost the gold in my first jump and now I have silver. I’m very happy.”
Van, who won the first women’s ski jump world title in 2009, came 15th while American team-mate, 13-time World Cup winner Sarah Hendrickson, who has struggled for fitness after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in a training crash in August, finished well out of the medals in 21st position.