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Ski Jumping, Oberstdorf World Cup 2022. The challenge between Kobayashi and Geiger for the Crystal Ball restarts

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The Vikersund World Flight Championships have gone into the archive, but the world championship event represented only the prologue of the final season pyrotechnic of the men’s jump . In fact, there are still two stages of the World Cup , both to be played on Flying Hills ! So, after having awarded the world medals, the time has come to assign the Flight Specialty Cup , the ranking of which will be determined by four individual competitions that will be staged between the upcoming weekend and the upcoming one.

In fact, even the absolute Crystal Ball is still in the balance. The match between Ryoyu Kobayashi and Karl Geiger is still to be played, as the Japanese leads the general classification with a margin of only 58 points over the German, who will also be playing at home over the weekend. In fact, in the next few days the athletes will compete on the Heini-Klopfer-Schanze in Oberstdorf .

As fans will know, this Bavarian town is one of the cradles of ski jumping, practiced there since 1909 . Already in 1925 the first artificial springboard was built, the Schattenbergschanze, destined to become one of the cult facilities of the discipline as one of the stages of the Vierschanzentournee . The flight board, on the other hand, saw the light at the end of the 40s , as a consequence of the international embargo put in place after the end of the Second World War against German athletes, who were prevented, among other things, from participating in the 1948 Winter Olympics. With the prospect that this exile could last a long time, but with the will to bring Germany back to the center of the ski jumping scene, three Oberstdorf jumpers – Sepp Weiler , Heini Klopfer and Toni Brutscher – they then had the idea of ​​building a gigantic trampoline on site, even bigger than the legendary Bloudkova Velikanka of Planica, to transform Oberstdorf into the privileged location to set world records .

Ski jumping World Cup ranking 2021-2022: Kobayashi confirms himself as leader at +67 on Geiger

Heini Klopfer, who in addition to being an athlete also had a degree in architecture , designed the new facility. The mining magnate Willi Huber was the patron and the new structure could see the light in the Stillach valley, a few kilometers further south than the Schattenbergschanze, being inaugurated by a jump by Klopfer himself on February 2, 1950 . The investment and the project proved to be a resounding success since the “week of ski flying” took place between February and March 1950, during which 100,000 spectators were registered. During the event the world record, at the time held by the Swiss Fritz Tschannen and set at 120 meters, was improved three times, finally being raised to 135 meters by the Swede Dan Netzell.

The desire of the creators of the trampoline to make it the privileged place to obtain the world record was fully satisfied, as Oberstdorf held this role for almost two decades. In 1961 the Yugoslav Joze Slibar was the first man to fly over 140 meters, then in 1967 the Norwegian Lars Grini became the first to touch the fateful 150 meter. At the end of the 1960s, with the construction of the immense Letalnica bratov Gorišek, Planica took center stage again. The Slovenian plant was built under the supervision of Heini Klopfer himself. However, he never saw the completion of the new complex, as he died prematurely in 1968, struck down by a heart attack at the age of 50. Since then, the Oberstdorf ski jump bears his name. The original Heini-Klopfer-Schanze was first rebuilt in 1973 and on a second occasion in 2016 , creating the current structure. To date it has been the scene of 26 first-level competitions, of which 20 are valid for the World Cup.

Five active jumpers have a success on the current Bavarian flying facility. The Austrian Stefan Kraft won 2 times in 2017, while the Norwegian Daniel-Andre Tande (gold world champion 2018), the Slovenian Timi Zajc (2019), the Japanese Ryoyu Kobayashi (2019) and the Polish Kamil also collected 1 affirmation. Stoch (2019). Finally, it should not be forgotten how the German Richard Freitag in 2013 excelled in the last race staged on the previous version of the springboard. Whatever the profile of the structure, no athlete has ever reached 3 victories. Therefore over the weekend Kraft will have the opportunity to become the most successful man ever on the Heini-Klopfer-Schanze.

If you look at the podiums , thirteen active jumpers have already forfeited at least one on the Oberstdorf flight trap. The ranking is led by Kraft and Stoch, who rose to 3 .
3 – KRAFT Stefan [AUT] (2-0-1)
3 – STOCH Kamil [POL] (1-1-1)
2 – FREITAG Richard [GER] (1-0-1) *
2 – WELLINGER Andreas [GER] (0-2-0)
2 – EISENBICHLER Markus [GER] (0-1-1)
2 – KUBACKI Dawid [POL] (0-1-1)
1 – KOBAYASHI Ryoyu [JPN] (1-0-0)
1 – TANDE Daniel-Andre [NOR] (1-0-0)
1 – ZAJC Timi [SLO] (1-0-0)
1 – ITO Daiki [JPN] (0-1-0) *
1 – KLIMOV Evgeny [RUS] (0-1-0)
1 – KASAI Noriaki [JPN] (0-0-1) *
1 – AMMANN Simon [SUI] (0-0-1) *
* Each asterisk represents a podium obtained on the previous version of the trampoline. It should therefore be noted that Richard Freitag is the only athlete capable of ranking in the top-three both before and after the refurbishment of the structure

Looking instead at the various national movements , and adding up all the podiums obtained on the Heini-Klopfer-Schanze, we can see how Austria and the German movement are paired. Nonetheless, the Austrians boast twice as many successes as the Teutons.
16 (8-4-4) – AUSTRIA
16 (4-6-6) – GERMANY [All-Inclusive]
11 (5-2-4) – FINLAND
11 (4-3-4) – NORWAY
6 (3-2-1) – JAPAN
6 (1-3-2) – POLAND
4 (1-2-1) – SLOVENIA [Including Yugoslavia]
3 (0-2-1) – CZECHOSLOVAKIA
2 (0-1-1) – SWITZERLAND
1 (0-1-0) – ITALY
1 (0-1-0) – RUSSIA
1 (0-0-1) – SWEDEN
Therefore a podium also for Italy . Thanks to Roberto Cecon , runner-up in the race that was held on February 25, 1995.


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