Comp International: USA Shines Young Canadian Skiers Debut
by Julie Melanson and Lex Treinen
The U.S.A.'S Jessie Diggins and Sophie Caldwell showed strong results in the FIS World Cup series leading into Christmas, while fellow American Simi Hamilton strutted his stuff with a historic sprint podium. On the Canadian front Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey scored top-20's as the World Cup races were dominated by Norwegians Therese Johaug and Martin Johnsrud Sundby.
Davos, Switzerland – Dec. 12-13
U.S.A.'S Diggins continued her strong start to the season, finishing 11th in the women's 15km freestyle in early December, while Johaug led a Norwegian sweep in Round Three of the FIS World Cup series. Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg was second, followed by teammate Heidi Weng in third. Caitlin Gregg raced to a solid 20th, while Liz Stephen was also in the points in 30th.
Canada's Kershaw was the top North American, delivering a solid 20thplace finish in the men's 30km freestyle race, with teammate Harvey 22nd, while Norway's Johnsrud Sundby took home another World Cup victory. French Maurice Manificat came through for the silver at 20.7 seconds back, while Norway's Anders Gloeersen locked up the bronze another eight seconds behind.
Kershaw is quietly serving notice not to count him out just yet. “The goal is to hit the points more constantly – and I have been doing that and have been between 20-30 in all the distance races. I think it gives me a good platform to make that jump back into the top-10,” he added.
Fellow Canuck Ivan Babikov placed 36th, while Graeme Killick was 46th. Noah Hoffman led the Americans in 52nd, while teammate Brian Gregg, joining the U.S. men's team in Davos, ended up in 65th.
In the women's 1.6km freestyle sprint, Caldwell was the top North American in sixth. Four American women qualified out of five, including Sadie Bjornsen, Ida Sargent, Caldwell and Diggins. Canada's Heidi Widmer, who is racing for Switzerland this year, also made the heats.
Sweden's Stina Nilsson displayed some tactical moves in the final stretch of the sprint to secure a 0.15-second win over Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla in second and Oestberg in third.
Diggins and Caldwell went head to head in the second semifinal, where Caldwell advanced as the Lucky Loser onto the finals, exceeding her goals and expectations for the weekend.
In the men's 1.6km freestyle sprint, defending Davos sprint champion Federico Pellegrino of Italy snatched first from France's Baptiste Gros and Norway's Sondre Fossli in the final stretch of the race.
The U.S. men qualified two out of three skiers. Both Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton, who broke a pole in his heat, finished fifth in the quarterfinal heats, finishing 23rd and 26th overall.
Canadian Len Valjas was surprised to be knocked out of the heats. “The field is so deep right now. There is just no margin for error. Even if I think I had a great qualifier, when I'm coming down the finishing stretch, I have to throw down everything I have and lunge across the line because you just never know.”
Toblach, Italy – Dec. 19-20
The following weekend in Toblach, Italy, Caldwell consecutively led the U.S. women's team, placing seventh overall in the 1.3km freestyle sprint, with
teammate Sadie Bjornsen in ninth, while Falla powered to victory in Round Four of the FIS XC World Cup 2015/16. Falla finished first over teammate Oestberg, while Nilsson, the previous weekend's winner, settled for third.
Bjornsen had her best qualification result and came within a hair of making the final. The U.S. women qualified four out of five, including Diggins, Caldwell and Sargent. Diggins and Sargent went head-to-head in the quarterfinals, but did not advance further after finishing fifth and sixth.
Hamilton took a historic podium in the men's 1.3km freestyle sprint, in second behind Italy's Pellegrino, with Great Britain's Andrew Young in third.
It was Hamilton's first full World Cup podium finish since winning a stage World Cup at the Tour de Ski in Lenzeheide, Switzerland in Dec. 2013. It was the sixth sprint podium for the U.S.A. It was also a historic podium as it marked the first time that Italy, the U.S.A. and Great Britain have shared a World Cup cross-country-ski podium.
“I'm really psyched and felt great all day. It was fun out there under blue skies and Italian sunshine,” said Hamilton. “Skis were great.”
The Canadian team made a waxing adjustment just before the race that didn't pan out and no skiers qualified.
Sadie Bjornsen led the U.S. team with a 19th-place finish in the women's 10km CL, while Diggins followed closely behind in 20th just 5.6 seconds behind. Johaug was unstoppable, winning her fifth-consecutive World Cup race this year and finishing with a 28.2-second lead over Finland's Krista Parmakoski, with teammate Oestberg in third.
Both Sadie Bjornsen and Diggins thought it was a challenging course. “The corners and downhill sections are ones that demand to be worked well, and you can make up a lot of time on them by staying focused and working every inch,” said Diggins.
Canada's Emily Nishikawa was back in action for the 10km CL, her specialty, which paid off when the young Whitehorse skier turned in her best performance of the season, finishing 39th (a tie) with a time of 30:32.5.
Harvey charged to 16th in the men's 15km CL, with teammate Kershaw finishing 28th in the points, while Johnsrud Sundby continued his early dominance of the World Cup season by skiing away with the gold. Russia's Alexander Bessmertnykh finished nearly 13 seconds off the leading pace in second, while Norway's Sjur Roethe skied to third.
With conditions on the artificial-snow-filled course sending wax techs into a frenzy, the top-two Canadian skiers were among many who chose to double-pole each of the three laps around the 5km course.
“This is the first time that Alex or Devon has double-poled a whole distance race, so that was a solid effort today,” added coach Justin Wadsworth. “The guys have showed they are in it. Their shape is good. We need to keep plugging away, and progressing towards the Tour.”
Planica, Slovenia – Jan. 16-17
The World Cup resumed mid-january at the new venue in Planica, Slovenia, where U.S.A.'S Caldwell was the top North American in 13th in the women's 1.2km freestyle sprint, just missing advancing to the semis as a Lucky Loser. Sweden's Nilsson won and took over the sprint series lead from Falla of Norway, who has been battling illness and failed to qualify. Top-qualifier Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR) was second in the final, with teammate Weng third.
Sargent (USA) also qualified, but after a strong start in her quarterfinal she was fifth at the finish. First-year senior Maya Macissac-jones was the top Canadian qualifier in 31st, followed by Dahria Beatty in 32nd, a personal best.
In the men's sprints, Pellegrino's hot winning streak made him the only men's Italian skier with seven World Cup victories. France's Gros landed on the podium in second, with teammate Richard Jouve in third.
The top North American was Hamilton in 18th, while his teammate Newell was 24th. Canada's Valjas just missed the heats again by a mere 5/100ths of a second, finishing 31st.
In the team sprints, Caldwell and Sargent skied themselves to a career-best fifth-place finish, while Nilsson and Ida Ingemarsdotter of Sweden l took the win as Nilsson attacked on the last climb to claim the victory over Norway l, which was composed of Weng and Jacobsen second. Sandra Ringwald and Hanna Kolb, racing for Germany l, finished third.
Macisaac-jones and Beatty skied for Canada l and Cendrine Browne and Nishikawa skied for Canada 2, finishing 10th and eighth respectively in their semifinals, ending up 19th and 15th overall.
For the men, it was Pellegrino and Dietmar Noeckler of Italy l taking the victory over Renaud Jay and Gros from France l, while Valentin Chauvin and Jouve of France 2 took third, giving the French a historic double podium.
The U.S.A.'S Hamilton and Newell qualified fourth in an extremely competitive heat, fighting for hundredths of a second to advance as Lucky Losers to the finals, but they got tangled up in the chaotic icy and relatively short exchange zone with one of the Norwegian teams, resulting in a disqualification. Knute Johnsgaard and Valjas racing for Canada 1 finished ninth in their semifinal and ended up 13th overall.
Nove Mesto, Czech Republic – Jan. 23-24
Diggins blazed to her second World Cup podium, delivering a convincing third-place finish in the women's 10km freestyle at Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, while Johaug claimed another victory with her teammate Jacobsen in second at 4.6 seconds back.
Snow fell throughout the day and caused the course to become soft and slow. Diggins battled with Jacobsen for the lead until Johaug entered the mix. The American star bested top skiers Charlotte Kalla (SWE) and Weng (NOR) for a stellar day. Also in the points were Sadie Bjornsen in 14th, Liz Stephen in 17th and Rosie Brennan in 28th.
Canada's Harvey battled through challenging conditions to a solid seventh in the men's 15km freestyle, while Manificat of France claimed the top spot on the podium over Norway's Johnsrud Sundby, with Russia's Sergey Ustiugov in third. The U.S.A.'S Hoffman finished 27th.
“The snow was really soft and completely different than yesterday, so it was extremely slow today and I had to work the whole way,” said Harvey.
The following day in the men's World Cup 4x7.5km relay, the U.S.A. and Canada delivered solid results in eighth and ninth. Norway took the win, with Russia second at six seconds behind, but the real battle was for the bronze, as seven teams, including the U.S.A. and Canada, vied for the final podium spot.
As the finish line approached, Italy's Pellegrino put the hammer down to deliver the goods, with Germany, Norway 2, Switzerland and France left wanting as the Hamilton bested Canadian rookie Johnsgaard at the line for eighth.
For Team U.S.A., it was an impressive comeback, as Erik Bjornsen was able to move the team up from 12th to sixth in the second leg. The Canadian men were also pleased to match the nation's second-best cross-country-ski World Cup relay since 2010.
Team U.S.A. claimed historic silver in the women's 4x5km relay as Sadie Bjornsen, Caldwell, Stephen and Diggins were unstoppable on their way to a decisive second-place finish, with Finland third.
Caldwell and Sadie Bjornsen kept the U.S. in contention as Stephen overtook Finland's Riitta-liisa Roponen to tag Diggins in second and the rest was history. The team was third in Lillehammer, which matched their career-best result.
“It was such a wonderful feeling crossing that line and skiing straight into the arms of my teammates, and knowing that we just accomplished something big as a team,” said Diggins.
For Team Canada, it was also a day of celebration, as Nishikawa, Beatty, Browne and Macisaac-jones debuted for the red Maple Leaf and took home a proud 12th-place finish. Canada's Browne and Macisaac-jones were in a duel with the Russians over the final two legs, ending up a proud 12th. Canada last completed a women's relay with four skiers back in 2008. – JM
Nordic-combined Ruka, Finland - Nov. 28-29
Both events were cancelled due to high winds.
Lillehammer, Norway - Dec. 5-6
The opening World Cup was held in Lillehammer, Norway following the cancellation of the events in Ruka, Finland due to high winds. Poland's Szczepan Kupczak was the first starter of the day in the cross-country-ski leg after his strong 133.5-metre jump, however, Fabian Rieble of Germany, who was 13 seconds back, won the competition for his first Individual victory with an impressive ski performance in which he put as much as 30 seconds on his pursuers before coasting to the line for a 12.5-second victory. Akito Watabe from Japan was second, and Ilka Herola of Finland was third for his first-ever World Cup podium. The top American was Bryan Fletcher, who finished 11th after finishing 15th in the jumping. Taylor Fletcher was 26th.
On Day Two on the Normal Hill, Mario Seidl of Austria won the jumping portion ahead of Kupczak, but home-nation favourite Magnus Krog was able to make up 45 seconds for the second World Cup victory of his career. The top-three spots ended within two seconds, with Germany's Rieble in second and Lukas Klapfer from Austria in third. Taylor Fletcher was the top American, skiing from 42nd place in the jumping up to 13th with the fastest cross-country leg of the day. Bryan Fletcher was 30th and Adam Loomis was 43rd.
Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria - Dec. 19-20
Magnus Moan out-lunged his teammate Krog in a sprint finish after both Norwegians skied back from more than a minute-and-a-half deficit following the jumping in the Gunderson 10km. Third place went to their compatriot and the winner of the jumping, 18-year-old Jarl Magnus Riiber, who dominated on the Ramsaus HS 98 hill with 95.5 metres and 131.0 points, giving him a 37-second advantage going into the cross-country portion. Bryan Fletcher was the top American in 26th, after starting the ski leg in 35th, while brother Taylor raced from 43rd up to 32nd.
On the second day in Ramsau am Dachstein, German superstar Eric Frenzel finally rose to the podium for the season, winning the 10km Individual Gunderson competition by 10.2 seconds over Riiber, the jumping winner for the second day in a row. After finishing sixth in the jumping, Frenzel's 15th-fastest time was good enough to ski away from the pack after three laps and take his 24th World Cup victory. Manuel Faisst of Germany was third after starting the day in fourth. Taylor Fletcher continued to show his good fitness with the third-fastest cross-country time, good for a 20th-place result. Bryan Fletcher was 26th.
Both events were cancelled due to lack of snow.
Chaux-neuve, France - Jan. 23-24
After an extra-long break due to the cancellation of the Klingenthal World Cups, Frenzel came out on top of the Gunderson competition, beating Austria's Bernhard Gruber and Japan's Watabe, who led after the jumping. But Watabe's 20-second lead there over Frenzel and his 35-second lead over Gruber weren't enough. Bryan and Taylor Fletcher led the Americans, finishing 19th and 20th with the third -and first-fastest cross-country times respectively.
On Day Two, Rieble found the top spot for his second-ever World Cup win ahead of Frenzel. Riiber won the jumping again, but his margin was small, and Rieble managed a 2.3-second win, while Watabe was in third again at 4.1 seconds behind. Taylor Fletcher again showed his skiing fitness with the second-fastest cross-country time and a 21st-place finish, while Bryan Fletcher finished 25th. – LT
Biathlon Oestersund, Sweden - Nov. 29-Dec. 6
Canada's Rosanna Crawford and Nathan Smith started off the BMW IBU Biathlon World Cup 2015-16 season with a bang, finishing second in the unique Single Mixed relay event, which was held for the first time as the season-opener. The Norwegian duo of Lars Helge Birkeland and Kaia Nicolaisen won, and Germany's team nabbed the bronze. U.S.A.'S duo of Sean Doherty and Clare Egan finished 15th.
On the same day, the Norwegians won the Mixed 2x6+2x7.5km relay, with the top North-american finish going to the Canadians in ninth, just ahead of the U.S.A. squad in 10th. Germany was second and Czech Republic was third.
The U.S.A.'S 20-year-old Doherty scored an impressive 20th place in the season-opening 20km race, hitting 18 of 20 targets, while 41-year-old Norwegian legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen shot clean for the win.
Canada's Crawford finished in 13th place the next day in the women's 15km Individual. Italy's Dorothea Wierer shot clean to win ahead of France's Marie Dorin Habert, who missed two shots, and Olena Pidhrushna of Ukraine, who also shot clean. U.S.A.'S Egan finished 44th to lead the Americans in her second-ever World Cup start.
Two days later in the 7.5km sprint, Egan bested that result with a 14thplace clean-shooting performance. Gabriela Soukalova of Czech Republic won over Italy's Federica Sanfilippo, both of whom shot clean, and Pidhrushna, who had one penalty. Macx Davies, 21, of Canada was the lone clean shooter in the men's sprint, finishing in 10th just behind his teammate Smith. Martin Fourcade of France missed two shots, but still won handily by 51 seconds over Germany's Arnd Peiffer, who missed one target, while Bjoerndalen claimed third. Doherty was the top American in 25th.
Canada's Smith ended his fantastic weekend with a 10th-place finish in the men's 12.5km Pursuit, which was won by Fourcade. On the women's side, Canada sent out a record four starters, but Crawford's 23rd place was the top result, as Finland's Kaisa Makarainen won with two misses.
2015/16 FIS Nordic-combined World Cup Overall standings after Chaux-neuve, France 1. Riessle Fabian (GER) 394; 2. Eric Frenzel (GER) 371; 3. Akito Watabe (JPN) 314; 4.Magnus Krog (NOR) 273; 5. Joergen Graabak (NOR) 227. US 23. Taylor Fletcher (USA) 57; 25. Bryan Fletcher (USA) 53.
Hochfilzen, Austria - Dec. 11-13
U.S.A.'S Lowell Bailey of shot clean and finished 12th in the men's 10km sprint, 41 seconds behind the race winner Germany's Simon Schempp, who cleaned while Smith missed one shot and finished 18th. In the women's 7.5km race, the best North American was Crawford, who finished 39th after missing one shot. Germany swept the women's podium with Franziska Hildebrand winning, Maren Hammerschmidt in second and Miriam Goessner in third.
The second day of the Hochfilzen races, a 12.5km Pursuit for men, saw Bailey lose one spot and slip to 13th. Smith kept his starting position for 18th, while at the front, Fourcade won despite two penalties. Laura Dahlmeier won the women's 10km Pursuit, with the U.S.A.'S Susan Dunklee moving up from 53rd to 31st with the 17th-fastest ski time, while Crawford moved from 39th to 35th.
Italy won the women's 4x6km relay ahead of Germany and Ukraine, while the Canadian women finished 10th and the U.S.A. was 15th. In the men's relay, Canada finished in sixth, as Russia bested Norway by three seconds. Third place went to France. Team U.S.A. finished eighth.
Pokljuka, Slovenia - Dec. 17-20
Tim Burke finished 14th with just one penalty in the men's 10km sprint, while his teammate Bailey shot clean for 15th in sunny Pokljuka. Schempp won ahead of Bjoernalen and Evgeniy Garanichev of Russia. The U.S.A.'S Dunklee delivered a season's-best result with a sixth-place finish in the women's 7.5km sprint at 17.6 seconds off the podium, with Dorin Habert of France taking the win. The Canadian women were led by Crawford, who finished in 23rd.
Burke moved up from 14th to ninth in the men's 12.5km Pursuit, missing one target, as Schempp bested Fourcade and Anton Shipulin. Dahlmeier won the women's 10km Pursuit over Dorin Habert, with Makarainen in third as Dunklee held on for 10th.
Canada's Smith finished 12th in the 15km Mass Start to lead the North Americans on the final day, while Jean-guillaume Beatrix of France shot clean and won his first-ever World Cup. Makarainen won the women's 12.5km Mass Start over Soukalova, with the U.S.A.'S Dunklee finishing 22nd.
Ruhpolding, Germany - Jan. 8-10
At the next stop in Ruhpolding, Germany, Dunklee just missed out on the top 10, finishing 11th in the 7.5km sprint, as Hildebrand (GER) won over Soukalova and Makarainen. Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) led a Norwegian podium sweep in the men's race, with Smith in 15th and Burke in 18th.
Smith claimed a stellar sixth in the men's 12.5km Pursuit on a difficult day of skiing in soft new snow, while Austria's Simon Eder won with a single penalty. Bailey and Burke finished 22nd and 26th, respectively. In the women's Pursuit, Dunklee dropped from 11th to 15th, while Dahlmeier won again.
In the women's 12.5km Mass Start, Dunklee matched her career-best sixth, while Dahlmeier continued her assault. Fourcade took the men's 15km Mass Start, with Bailey finishing 16th and Smith in 25th.
Ruhpolding, Germany - Jan. 13-17
Bailey claimed 14th in the men's 20km, as Fourcade bested Eder and Shipulin. Canada's Brendan Green had his season-best result, finishing 18th. In the women's 15km, Canada's Crawford raced to 18th place with two missed targets, while Wierer shot clean for the win.
In the men's 4x7.5km relay, Team U.S.A. finished sixth with eight spare rounds, while Canada was 10th, as Norway used 12 spares to win over Russia, who used six spares. Austria finished third with one penalty and seven spares.
Canada's Smith finished in 15th in the men's 15km Mass Start with one penalty, while Germany's Erik Lesser shot clean for the win, with Bailey 21st. Canada's Crawford finished 19th in the women's 12.5km race, won by series leader Soukalova. Germany's Hildebrand was second and Dahlmeier was third, with Dunklee 22nd.
In the final event of the weekend, Ukraine beat Germany by two seconds in the women's 4x6km relay, while Italy was third. Canada finished in ninth and the U.S.A. was 16th. – LT
IBU Biathlon World Cup
Overall after five rounds Men 1. Martin Fourcade (FRA) 655; 2. Tarjei Boe (NOR 468; 3. Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) 465; 4. Anton Shipulin (RUS) 414; 5. Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA) 404. CAN/US 15. Nathan Smith (CAN) 277; 31. Tim Burke (USA) 157; 44. Sean Doherty (USA) 63; 48. Brendan Green (CAN) 50; 49. Macx Davies (CAN) 49; 72. Scott Gow (CAN) 14; 73. Christian Gow (CAN) 13. Women 1. Gabriela Soukalova (CZE) 611; 2. Marie Dorin Habert (FRA) 538; 3. Franziska Hildebrand (GER) 520; 4. Laura Dahlmeier (GER) 485; 5. Dorothea Wierer (ITA) 462. CAN/US 22. Susan Dunklee (USA) 209; 30. Rosanna Crawford (CAN) 136; 54. Claire Egan (USA) 25; 57. Julia Ransom (CAN) 24; 64. Megan Tandy (CAN) 16; 65. Zina Kocher (CAN) 14.
SKI JUMPING Lillehammer, Norway - Dec. 5-6
Sara Takanashi of Japan won the season-opening women's 100 HS competition with an 11-point margin over Maja Vtic of Slovenia and Maren Lundby of Norway, who was another seven points back. Taylor Heinrich of Canada was a strong 11th, while Tara Geraghty-moats of the U.S.A. was 17th. Severin Freund of Germany bested Kenneth Gangnes of Norway by 0.1 points to take his 19th career victory, even though he was out-distanced by Norwegians Gangnes and third-place finisher Andreas Stjernen. The event was moved to the Normal Hill instead of the Large because of the forecast for strong winds. Mackenzie Boyd-clowes was the top North American in 37th, followed by Michael Glasder in 43rd. The second day's event was also moved to the Normal Hill on Sunday, but this time it was Gangnes who caught the best of the field, beating Peter Prevc of Slovenia by 1.8 points. Norwegian Johann Andre Forfang was 3.9 points behind in third.
Nizhny Tagil, Russia - Dec. 11-13
After Norway, the races moved to the Sverdlovsk Oblast of central Russia for the men's and women's competitions. No North Americans made it through the qualification. Germany's Freund again stood on top of the podium with an 11.5-point victory over Slovenia's Prevc, while Norway's Joachim Hauer was third, another five points back. In the women's competition, Daniela Iraschko-stolz of Austria narrowly beat Japan's Takanashi by four points for the win, while Eva Pinkelnig, also of Austria, was third. Canada's Heinrich again was the top North American, finishing in 17th, while American Nita Englund was 20th. The next day, Takanashi got her revenge with a dominating 24-point win over her teammate Yuki Ito. Third place went to Chiara Hoelzl of Austria. Nineteen-year-old Heinrich was only three points off the podium in fifth place. In the men's 134 HS, Slovenia's Prevc stood on top of the podium with a seven-point win over Michael Hayboeck of Austria. Another seven points back was Norway's Forfang.
Engelberg, Switzerland - Dec. 18-20
The men now moved to Engelberg, where Slovenia's Prevc shared the podium on the 137 HS jump with his teenage brother, Domen, who finished 14 points behind. Noriaki Kasai of Japan was third. Canada's Boyd-clowes narrowly missed out on the top 30 in 31st. Prevc repeated his victory the next day, winning by 20 points over Hayboeck of Austria, while Gangnes of Norway was third. Prevc nabbed his ninth career win and extended his World Cup lead to 165 points.
Oberstdorf, Germany - Dec. 28-29
In Oberstdorf, Slovenia's Prevc was beaten by his main rival in the World Cup standings, Germany's Freund, who finished just three points ahead of Hayboeck of Austria for the first day of the annual Four Hills Tournament. The U.S.A.'S Nicholas Alexander was the top North American in 38th.
Garmisch-partenkirchen - Dec. 31-Jan. 1
Prevc of Slovenia continued his great season with another win on the 140 HS jump, finishing ahead of Gangnes of Norway and Freund of Germany. With the win, Prevc took the lead in the Four Hills Tournament. Canada's Boyd-clowes was 44th.
Innsbruck, Austria - Jan. 2-3
Slovenia's Prevc again bested rival Germany's Freund, who finished nine points back on the third day of the Four Hills Tournament. Norway's Gangnes was third to make it a repeat podium, as on the previous day. Glasder of the U.S.A. was the lone North American in 48th.
Bischofshofen, Austria - Jan. 5-6
On the final day, Prevc secured his Four Hills victory in a big way with a win on the final jump, becoming the first Slovenian to win since 1997. Germany's Freund was second, while Austria's Hayboeck was third. Hayboeck also snuck into third overall, beating Norway's Gangnes by just eight points in the overall.
Willingen, Germany - Jan. 8-10
The Team competition came down to a difference of just 0.8 points, but the German jumpers from the host nation were able to eke out a victory ahead of Norway. With star Freund's jump of 149 metres, the longest of the day, it was a form of revenge over Slovenian rival Prevc, who had his worst jump of the year at just 124 metres. The Austrian team finished third. In the Individual the next day, however, Prevc was back on top, winning by 15 points over Norway's Gangnes. Freund was 30 points off the lead in third. Canadian Boyd-clowes was the top North American, placing 20th.
Tauplitz/bad Mitterndorf, Austria - Jan. 15-17
Slovenia's Prevc's Individual gold at the Ski Flying World Championships had a dark shadow over it with news that Austrian jumper Lukas Mueller had crashed during training two days before the start of the competitions and was taken to the hospital with paralyzed legs. Prevc set two distance records in just three tries (as the final jump was canceled due to weather) on the Kulm Hill, one of the world's largest, to beat Gangnes of Norway. Stefan Kraft of Austria was a surprise third, and Germany's Freund, Prevc's main rival for the season until then, finished a disappointing sixth. Canada's Boyd-clowes shattered his Canadian ski-jumping distance record flying 212.5 metres finishing 27th, and Glasder of the U.S.A. was 37th. In the Team competition, the Norwegian quartet of Forfang, Gangnes, Anders Fannemel and Daniel Andre Tande took the gold, with all jumps of more than 200 metres. They ended with a 110-point lead over second-place Germany. Austria was third.
Sapporo, Japan - Jan. 16-17
While the men were competing in Austria, Japan's Takanashi was continuing
her streak in her home country in Sapporo, winning by 24 points over Slovenian Ema Klinec. Iraschko-stolz of Austria was third. Heinrich was 13th for Canada and Geraghty-moats of the U.S.A. was 21st. On the second day, Takanashi again dominated with a 16-point win over Iraschko-stolz. Austria's Jacqueline Seifriedsberger was third. Englund of the U.S.A. had a fantastic seventh-place result after jumping to 20th in the first round. Canada's Heinrich was 20th.
Zao, Japan - Jan. 22-23
Japan's Takanashi, 19, continued her astonishing streak, again besting Austria's Iraschko-stolz for her fifth-straight World Cup victory. Vtic of Slovenia was third. Abby Hughes was the top American in 22nd, and teammate Englund was 28th. Takanashi made it six in a row the next day, beating Slovenians Vtic and Klinec by just three and five points respectively. Englund was 15th for the U.S. and Heinrich was 20th for Canada.
Zakopane, Poland - Jan. 22-24
Team Norway, comprised of Fannemel, Stjernen, Tande and Gangnes, followed up on their World Championship win with another convincing win in the Team competition. Gangnes again had the longest jump of the day as Norway beat Austria by more than 30 points. Home-team Poland held off Germany for third. In the Individual 134 HS jump, Kraft of Austria stepped atop the podium, finishing eight points ahead of his teammate Hayboeck and 11 points ahead of Slovenian World Cup leader Prevc. – LT
2015/16 FIS Ski Jumping World Cup
Overall standings after Oberstdorf, Germany/zakopane, Poland Women 1. Sara Takanashi (JPN) 880; 2. Daniela Iraschko-stolz (AUT) 599; 3. Maja Vtic (SLO) 408. CAN/USA 17. Taylor Henrich (CAN) 144; 18. Nita Englund (USA) 134; 29. Tara Geraghty-moats (USA); 38. Abby Hughes (USA) 13; 44. Atsuko Tanaka (CAN) 5. Men 1. Peter Prevc (SLO) 1084; 2. Severin Freund (GER) 779; 3. Kenneth Gangnes (NOR) 725. CAN 51. Mackenzie Boyd-clowes (CAN) 13.