Only three weeks after his shoulder injury, Felix Gottwald jumped and ran to his 23rd victory in the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Schonach today. The Austrian, who will celebrate his 35th birthday on January 13th, is now the oldest athlete to ever win a World Cup competition in this sport – beforehand this distinction was held by Rauno Miettinen of Finland. Even better for Austria was that Mario Stecher came in second and Bernhard Gruber in third, so Team Austria swept the podium for the first time in its World Cup history. The last podium sweep was achieved by Germany (Kircheisen, Ackermann, Edelmann) in Ramsau in 2007. But that’s not all: with Mario Stecher, an Austrian is now the holder of the yellow bib in the overall World Cup rankings.
Felix Gottwald started his run to victory from 13th place after the Ski Jumping, though Jason Lamy Chappuis was in the lead at this point. The Frenchman was able to keep the chasers at bay for more than half the race, but then last week’s illness took its toll. Lamy-Chappuis was caught by a group of four, wasn’t able to follow them and finished in 11th spot. It was his worst result in the last one and a half years.
At the front, the race was between Felix Gottwald, Mario Stecher, Bernhard Gruber (all AUT) and Norway’s Jan Schmid. In the last lap, Gottwald broke away and skied to victory. Schmid tried to secure second place, but used too much energy in this effort and finished fourth behind Stecher and Gruber.
In the morning, Jason Lamy Chappuis (FRA) won the Ski Jumping portion in a Nordic Combined World Cup competition for the 14th time in his career. He jumped 102 m for 132.8 points and got a new hill record on the “Langenwaldschanze”. Second ranked was Bernhard Gruber (101 m/129.1 points/15 seconds back). Fastest on the track was Mikko Kokslien (NOR) in 2w3:33.0 minutes. He moved up from a 39th place mid-session to a final eighth place.
In the overall World Cup standings, Mario Stecher now leads with an advantage of seven points in front of Jason Lamy Chappuis .
Today’s top three:
1. Felix Gottwald (AUT) 118.0 (13)/23:39.4 min (2) 24:38.4
2. Mario Stecher (AUT) 122.1 (6)/24:11.0 min (11) +15.6
3. Bernhard Gruber (AUT) 129.1 (2)/24:39.6 min (20) +16.2
World Cup Standings: 1. Mario Stecher (AUT) 466 , 2. Jason Lamy Chappuis (FRA) 459, 3. Mikko Kokslien (NOR) 387, 4. Felix Gottwald (AUT) 360, 5. Eric Frenzel (GER) 309, 6. Tino Edelmann (GER) 261.
Full standings: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/NK/4023/2011NK4023WC.pdf
PRESS CONERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Felix Gottwald - first
“I was happy that I injured my shoulder and that it was nothing more serious. Then, I worked hard to come back, I did not follow school medicine ideas, which say do not to move a broken bone. My therapy worked. We can see the result today.”
“In the end, it was a joy to compete and win in Schonach. It is a very special feeling when you receive the prestigious ‘Schwarzwaldpokal’.”
Mario Stecher – second
“It is a special day for me – being on the podium with two teammates, and holding the yellow bib as the overall World Cup leader. The last time I led the overall was 14 years ago…”
“Thank you to the great organization in Schonach, which overcame very difficult moments because of the weather yesterday, and thanks to our great team, the coaches, the service guys, all the staff, today. Without them, you cannot win.”
“The new hill is very nice and we’ll see big jumps in the years to come , when the weather is right.”
Bernhard Gruber - third
“ During Christmas, I wasn’t in good shape because I was ill. Therefore, I did not have great expectations for today. But the jumping portion went very well. I felt really strong and was able to push as hard as possible on the track. It is great to be involved in a historical moment. It was fun. Let’s hope it will go on like this!”