Four Hills Tournament: Andreas Wellinger has a device again – lessons from Oberstdorf

Halvor Egner Granerud as angry winner, Karl Geiger as beaming fourth and Markus Eisenbichler (desperate) – the start of the 2022/23 Four Hills Tournament was really something.
While Granerud, as Oberstdorf dominator, was upset with the Jury’s lax approach to the starting grid, Geiger was pleased with what looked to be his best competition of the winter.

Even though the 29-year-old narrowly missed the podium in his home competition, he was extremely happy with himself and his performance. The same goes for Andreas Wellinger who, starting sixth, can dream of a first place in the circuit classification for the first time in five years.


The “competition fiddler” is back: the eagles hunt Granerud


“They’ve smelled a rat now,” national coach Stefan Horngacher said in an interview. Eurosport: “You have seen that it is possible. Now we will work very carefully to continue and maybe even get on the podium. And then we will try to get by until Bischofshofen.”

Horngacher excited about Geiger and Wellinger: ‘We smelled a rat’

Lessons from Oberstdorf.

1.) Grumpy Granerud wants to know

In the first round, Halvor Egner Granerud came within a meter of the 19-year-old springboard record set by fellow Norwegian Sigurd Pettersen at 142.5 meters, but still grumbled like a sparrow in the valley.

What happened? The Norwegian was annoyed that the jury wanted to let him start from gate 16 when he had already jumped 138 meters in similar conditions during the practice run from gate 14 and therefore one meter above Hillsize (HS 137).

Luckily for Granerud, his trainer Alexander Stöckl knocked him out of a trap via ‘Coaches Decision’. So the Norwegian was able to land at least reasonably safe, even if not with telemark.

Granerud jumps just before the springboard record

“I was a bit angry and also a bit scared,” the 26-year-old explained afterwards. Eurosport“It shouldn’t be Alex’s responsibility to make sure I can still work tomorrow.”

If his coach had not reacted, “it would have gone too far. I was not particularly happy about that”, he added later in a press conference.

This did not jeopardize Granerud’s victory. After practice, qualifying and a test run, the Norwegian also dominated both runs of the competition with the best distances (142.5m/139.0m) – an impressive start.

“He was the best on the hill the whole time. He held on until the end, it was a well-deserved win,” Judge said. Eurosport-The expert Martin Schmitt in view of the twelve meters lead of the Norwegian on the second Piotr Zyla (132.5 m / 137.0 m): “He was unbeatable.”

For Granerud, who led the circuit after two jumps in 2019/20 but then missed out on the podium, winning the circuit this season is the big goal, as he said on Thursday Eurosport confirmed. “I thought about it all summer,” he said.

Now to have won in Oberstdorf is “super cool. It’s a dream come true for me,” he said: “It’s pure joy.” And an exclamation mark to its competition – it is to be reckoned with.

“Fasten your seat belt!” Granerud flies over victory in Oberstdorf

2.) Geiger and Wellinger have a tailwind

It blew well from behind in Oberstdorf, tailwind, the unloved child of ski jumpers. In the case of Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger this was no problem, the two Germans showed great competition and, after fourth and sixth place respectively, are within reach from the start.

25,000 spectators transported the two DSV figureheads to the valley this year. And even though Geiger missed the podium by 1.3 points after jumps over 136.5 and 134.0 meters, he was still very satisfied.

“It was the best competition I’ve done this winter. Fourth place always seems thankless, but I don’t see it that way,” he said. After a cautious start to the winter in the World Cup with only one podium (third in Titisee-Neustadt), Geiger is still closing in on the top of the world.

“Sensational!” Geiger defied the tailwind in the final in Oberstdorf

“It’s about trusting the right approach to jumping: knowing that if I do this and that right, then the jump will be okay,” he said. Eurosport“Sometimes you have to look for those points a bit, but when you have it and the feeling of accomplishment comes, you can let go of it more and more.”

In any case, after Garmisch, he takes “a good dose of self-confidence. We have to steer him in the right direction and then we will attack”.

In this case, the “we” also referred to Andreas Wellinger. After difficult years riddled with injuries, the 2018 Olympic champion has regained his confidence in himself and his (new) equipment and is suddenly jumping well from Engelberg – Thursday at 135.0 and 132.0 meters.

135 meters! Wellinger knocks one out in the first round

“I’m super happy. It’s really ski jumping again at a high level,” he said. That’s why I’m super happy.” The fact that sixth place jumped out is really cool.”

Wellinger “now has a device he can use to drive fast,” Martin Schmitt said in his analysis for “If the hardware configuration is good, then the base is good. I think we will enjoy it very much during the tour.”

Geiger and Wellinger “draw the necessary conclusions from a mixed start to the season. Now we have to grow. Now we have to stabilize the level, then the extraordinary jumps will come back,” said the 2002 Olympic team champion.

Wellinger satisfied with his first place: “A giant step”

“There’s a lot more dynamism inside,” said national coach Stefan Horngacher. “The gaps to the front have narrowed considerably. I think we’re on the right track.”

The fact that the team’s performance in DSV fell a little after Philipp Raimund (14th) did not prevent Geiger from declaring war on Garmisch. “It was a good result. I think we can do even more as a team. We will accelerate,” said the man from Oberstdorf.

Geiger in Eurosport interview: ‘It was unbelievably cool’

3.) Poles are monsters on tour

If you look at the winners of the last few years, it’s clear: the Poles always manage to be in top form for the tour. Four of the last six wins have gone to Kamil Stoch (three) and Dawid Kubacki (one), the latter finishing third once and Piotr Zyla second behind Stoch in 2017.

The fact that the three big Poles are now all over 30 did not prevent them from taking second, third and ninth places in Oberstdorf, although Stoch was unlucky as there was a long break in the wind just before his second jump and the old master had to wait several minutes on the diving platform before he was allowed to jump.

In Kubacki’s case, third place is almost a disappointment, as the 32-year-old had hoped for more as the overall leader of the World Cup. However, Granerud was unavoidable in Oberstdorf.

However, he was able to deal with another guy passing the blonde boy in Zyla. “It was a great performance from our team, it’s almost like a win,” Kubacki said. “It was not an easy and difficult competition. I’m happy to be on the podium even if I made some small mistakes. But I’m only human,” he added.

Kubacki loves Zyla: Polish double on the podium

Zyla in turn betrayed to Eurosport, that he already had the feeling of a better placement, actually visualized it. “I trained very hard today, also mentally. I believed in myself and in my chances and I practically expected a good competition,” said the 35-year-old, who was then, in the manner of Zyla, very happy with her second place.

“It’s important to me that I can enjoy ski jumping and have fun doing it. Then I can show my best,” he said and waved goodbye in the direction of Garmisch, beaming with joy.

You might also be interested in: Eisenbichler considers leaving the circuit – the national coach reacts

Raimund happy with 14th place: “I felt the tremor on the beam”

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