Germany’s Andreas Wellinger wins gold in normal hill ski jumping
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The cold was biting. The wind was brutal. And for Andreas Wellinger, it added up to Olympic gold.
The 22-year-old German won the men’s normal hill title Saturday at the Pyeongchang Games despite the frigid temperatures and whipping wind at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center. He nailed a jump of 113.5 meters to secure the gold with 259.3 points.
“The wind was quite good,” Wellinger said. “Sometimes a bit different — one, two, three meters headwind — but I think all in all it was a good competition, it was really fair and if you do your best jumps you can be close to the top and especially my second jump was really, really good.”
The final round was delayed for more than 30 minutes because of the wind. The temperature was minus-11 Celsius (12 Fahrenheit), but it felt a lot colder with the wind chill.
It didn’t stop Wellinger.
Johann Andre Forfang took silver ahead of Norwegian teammate Robert Johansson, who impressed not only with a jump that matched Wellinger’s but with a red handlebar mustache.
Johansson said he began growing the mustache two years ago and then things started going well for him. He said he started getting compliments on it as well and so he “just kind of went with it.”
He also went with the wind on Saturday.
“[It] was challenging in the second round for sure,” Johansson said. “Started to miss the feeling in my feet, but I ended up doing quite a fantastic jump and managed to get on the podium. So then I can basically stop feeling my feet a few more times if that keeps happening.”
Kamil Stoch of Poland, the 2014 Olympic champion, was fourth.
Wellinger, who was first after Thursday’s qualifying, is third in the overall World Cup standings this season and was competing in his second Olympics. He’s been in good form heading into the games and carried that momentum into the normal hill event.
His first win of the World Cup season came in early December and he was runner-up in Zakopane, Poland, on Jan. 28.
Because of the wind in Pyeongchang, there were concerns the final might have to be postponed, but organizers were able to complete the round in front of a sparse crowd.
Two-time Olympic champion Simon Ammann of Switzerland, who finished 11th, had four gate changes before he was finally able to make a jump of 104.5 meters.