PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — After dominating the ski jumping World Cup this season, Maren Lundby wasn’t about to be denied on the sport’s biggest stage.
The 23-year-old Norwegian overcame frigid temperatures Monday to win the women’s ski jumping normal hill gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Lundby, who has won seven of 10 events this season, nailed a jump of 110 meters for 264.6 points to capture Norway’s second gold medal of the games.
“I knew when I landed I had won because I saw the green light go on,” Lundby said, referring to the light that indicates how far you have to jump to take the lead. “I didn’t look at the scoreboard but I heard the announcers say ‘It’s gold.'”
Katharina Althaus of Germany was second, followed by Sara Takanashi of Japan.
The temperature was minus-11 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) at the start of competition at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center.
Athletes bundled up with blankets while waiting on the steps to take their jumps. The conditions have tested even the most seasoned winter sports veterans, but Lundby said it’s all part of ski jumping.
“We’ve had a lot of competitions in heavy conditions,” Lundby said. “We had a competition in Japan recently with similar conditions.”
Althaus, who has two wins on the World Cup circuit this season, had a jump of 106 meters for 252.6 points.
It was a bittersweet result for Takanashi, who was the gold medal favorite four years ago in Sochi but failed to make the podium then.
She captured Japan’s second bronze of the games but said she has some regrets.
“Four years ago, I had a terrible experience,” said Takanashi, who had a leap of 103.5 meters. “But I have been practicing hard so I had a good sleep last night knowing I have done everything I could possibly do. Maybe I am just not at the caliber of a gold medalist now.”
Lundby was also first in the first round but said she knew she had to improve on that jump of 105.5.
“The first jump was not so good because I was flying a little low and I was not sure If I was going to fly so far,” Lundby said. “For the second jump, I knew better what I had to do and it was really amazing to fly over the green line.”
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