Ski Jumping

Kobayashi completes Four Hills Grand Slam

Ryoyu Kobayashi produced a majestic second leap to take victory in Bischofshofen and join an elite group of ski jumpers.

Lying fourth after the first round in Bischofshofen, Ryoyu Kobayashi needed something special to become just the third man to complete a Four Hills Grand Slam.

And the Japanese delivered.

He jumped out to 137.5m with near-perfect style marks giving him a day's best score of 146.0 points for a daunting total of 282.1.

His reaction and that of his brother, fellow Olympian Junshiro, suggested it might be good enough.

Ryoyu Kobayashi reacts with brother Junshiro after his second jump at Bischofshofen

Next was home favourite Stefan Kraft who could only manage 131.5m, good enough for second place.

Poland's Dawid Kubacki broke the hill record with 138.0m in round one, but could not repeat those heroics as he leapt 130.0m to move above Kraft into second.

That left just first-round leader Markus Eisenbichler who required something close to his previous 137.0m to claim his first individual World Cup win.

But he jumped 131.5m with poor style points dropping him to fifth.

Kobayashi had done it, joining Sven Hannawald in 2002 and Kamil Stoch 12 months ago as the only men to win all of the Four Hills events.

A season to remember

This has been a truly outstanding breakthrough season for the 22-year-old from Hachimantai in Iwate Prefecture.

Kobayashi finished seventh in the normal hill event at PyeongChang 2018 and 10th in the large hill.

But he took third in the individual season opener in Wisla, Poland for his first World Cup podium finish.

A week later, he had his first win in Ruka, Finland and was victorious again 24 hours later.

He kept up that fine form and went into the Four Hills as a strong favourite with four wins from seven individual contests.

After a spectacular first jump of 138.5m in Oberstdorf, he just held off Eisenbichler for victory by 0.4 points.

Ryoyu Kobayashi on his way to victory in the first 2019 Four Hills event at Oberstdorf

On New Year's Day at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kobayashi took a narrow lead over Eisenbichler into round two before winning by 1.9 points.

Friday at Innsbruck was altogether more comfortable largely thanks to an opening jump of 136.5m, more than five metres further than anyone else.

Now he has eight wins out of 11 this campaign and looks a class apart.

Despite victory eluding him again, Eisenbichler claimed second in the Four Hills competition with fellow German Stephan Leyhe third.

But they and everyone else will have to raise their game considerably if they are to challenge Kobayashi at next month's World Championships in Seefeld in Tirol, Austria.

2019 Four Hills final podium (L-R): runner-up Markus Eisenbichler, Ryoyu Kobayashi, third-placed Stephan Leyhe


Ski Jumping
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Number of medals

0 Olympic medals

Olympic Games

1 Olympic Games