Ski Jumping

Home hero Karl Geiger takes Four Hills opener in Oberstdorf

Germany's ski flying world champion returned from coronavirus to claim victory in his hometown from Kamil Stoch and Marius Lindvik.

By Ken Browne ·

Karl Geiger made a stunning return to action to win the first leg of ski jumping's Four Hills Tournament on Tuesday (29 December).

Having missed the last two rounds of the World Cup due to a positive COVID test, Geiger took victory on the famous Schattenberg hill in Oberstdorf, the town of his birth.

The 27-year-old jumped 127m to lead after round one and his second jump of 136.5m saw him amass a winning total of 291.1 points.

Kamil Stoch was almost denied the chance to jump due to a positive coronavirus test in the Polish camp, but they were cleared to compete today and the three-time Olympic champion took second place.

Bidding for his third Four Hills title, Stoch jumped 125m and 132.5m for 288.3 points.

Norway's Marius Lindvik was third, jumping 126.5m and 135.5m for a total of 285.2 points.

Team-mate Halvor Egner Granerud had won the last five World Cup events, but his winning streak came to and end as he took fourth place on 280.1 points after jumps of 122m and 131m.

Markus Eisenbichler finished fifth after he pulled out a massive 142m second leap following a below-par 118m opening effort, totalling 274.3 points.

Robert Johansson, third in the World Cup standings, was 39th and missed the cut for the second round.

"It's just really unbelievable. I just have no words for this feeling now." - Karl Geiger to FIS

Karl Geiger's incredible few weeks

It's been a rollercoaster few weeks for Geiger who won the individual ski flying world title in Planica on 12 December and became a father two days later when wife Franziska gave birth to daughter Luisa.

Two days after that, he was in quarantine after a positive Covid-19 test, but he trained, stayed focused and, luckily, asymptomatic, and made a spectacular return on home snow.

He told FIS afterwards, "The first round was really tough with the wind straight at and back, but I made two really really good jumps. But after the last weeks, I just don't know what to say. It's great."

When asked about his overall tournament prospects, he replied, "I need some jumps, I've not had many jumps in the last weeks so I have to look from day to day and keep on fighting."

Karl Geiger celebrates victory in the 2020-21 Four Hills opener at Oberstdorf

Poland cleared to compete

The spectre of coronavirus hung over the opening day of the festive-season Four Hills Tournament.

The normally vibing festival of jump was strangely silent without the partying throng, and the day before it looked likely that none of the Polish team was going to be permitted to take part.

Barred from yesterday's qualification after Klemens Muranka tested positive for COVID, they all tested negative - including Muranka - last night and were cleared to compete.

That meant the entire field of 62 athletes started the competition with the top 30 going through to the second round.

Yesterday's qualification results counted for nothing with the Poles having an extra training run before the trial run.

Muranka made the cut for the final 30 jumpers and finished in 30th place.

Now after a successful first jump at the Four Hills Tournament now the show goes on the road to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for qualification on Thursday (31 December) ahead of the traditional competition on New Year's Day.

READ: All you need to know for the 2020-21 Four Hills Tournament