TORINO: Ski jump: Morgenstern wins large hill; American Alborn 43rd


TORINO: Ski jump: Morgenstern wins large hill; American Alborn 43rd{mosimage}PRAGELATO, Italy – U.S. ski jumper Alan Alborn continued his comeback from a pair of knee injuries, but failed to make the second-round cut in Saturday’s K125 large-hill competition as he finished 43rd. Austrian Thomas Morgenstern won the gold medal.

Morgenstern edged teammate Andreas Kofler by a score of 276.9 to 276.8. Taking bronze was Norwegian Lars Bystoel.

”I still can’t believe it,” said Morgenstern. ”It’s the greatest gold. I had the best jumps every day here. Last year at the World Cup, this year, everything is perfect.”

Competing in his first Olympics, the 19-year-old Morgenstern jumped in the air after his second jump before he even had time to take his skis off.

After Kofler completed his second jump, the two Austrians embraced at the bottom of the hill, not quite sure who had won the gold.

Pre-event medal favorite Janne Ahonen of Finland missed another chance for his first individual Olympic medal, finishing a disappointing ninth with 234.1 points after jumps of 123.5 and 128.5 meters.

Ahonen has dominated World Cup ski jumping for the past several years but still doesn’t have an individual Olympic medal and said before the Games that these will likely be his last Olympics.

Defending Olympic champion Simon Ammann of Switzerland had jumps of 120.5 and 124.5 meters to finish in 15th place with 218 points.

World Cup leader Jakub Janda of the Czech Republic, who took a few days off in Monte Carlo after finishing 18th in the normal-hill event, failed to impress and finished 10th after two modest jumps.

Alborn’s first-round jump of 108.0 meters, which earned him 79.9 points, was not enough to earn a second jump. The top 30 jumps from the field of 50 advanced to get a second jump.

“It was a little better jump (than the trial round),” said Alborn. “It’s just blowing behind me. You have 95 kilometers an hour and you’re jumping into that. It feels like you should have a really solid amount of pressure on your body, but there’s not. So it’s more of kind of floating in space and trying to stay away from the snow as long as possible.”

Morgenstern posted jumps of 133.0 m and 140.0 m and was the lone competitor to hit the 140 m mark.

Alborn, a two-time Olympian, has returned full force after battling through two knee injuries. In ’03, he suffered a right knee injury. Alborn retired during the winter of ’04 and returned to the World Cup circuit in ’05, only to tear his left ACL in a non-jumping incident while skiing.

He missed worlds and had reconstructive surgery. An accelarated rehab followed and he was cleared to jump again in early July of ’05.

“I’m happy,” said Alborn. “When I hurt my knee last season and going into the summer, I was pretty skeptical about even making it back to jumping. All the muscle disappeared from my leg. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t bend my knee. That’s pretty humbling. But then I just worked hard, did all the therapy — maybe more than I was supposed to. But I was able to get back on the hill in the summer, make really small steps all the time, and next thing I knew I’m here (at the Olympics).”

- The Associated Press/USSA

XX Olympics
Ski jumping large hill
(First and second jumps in parentheses)

1. Thomas Morgenstern, Austria, (133.0, 74.4, 57.0; 140.0, 87.0, 58.5) 276.9.
2. Andreas Kofler, Austria, (134.0, 76.2, 59.5; 139.5, 86.1, 55.0) 276.8.
3. Lars Bystoel, Norway, (127.5, 64.5, 57.0; 131.5, 71.7, 57.5) 250.7.
4. Roar Ljoekelsoey, Norway, (131.0, 70.8, 57.0; 125.0, 60.0, 55.0) 242.8.
5. Matti Hautamaeki, Finland, (126.0, 61.8, 55.5; 129.5, 68.1, 57.0) 242.4.
6. Andreas Kuettel, Switzerland, (127.5, 64.5, 55.5; 127.0, 63.6, 55.5) 239.1.
7. Bjoern Einar Romoeren, Norway, (128.5, 66.3, 55.5; 125.5, 60.9, 55.5) 238.2.
8. Takanobu Okabe, Japan, (125.0, 60.0, 55.0; 128.5, 66.3, 55.5) 236.8.
9. Janne Ahonen, Finland, (123.5, 57.3, 55.0; 128.5, 66.3, 55.5) 234.1.
10. Jakub Janda, Czech Republic, (122.0, 54.6, 54.0; 128.0, 65.4, 56.5) 230.5.
11. Michael Neumayer, Germany, (123.5, 57.3, 53.0; 128.5, 66.3, 52.5) 229.1.
12. Noriaki Kasai, Japan, (120.0, 51.0, 53.0; 128.5, 66.3, 57.0) 227.3.
13. Michael Moellinger, Switzerland, (120.5, 51.9, 53.0; 127.5, 64.5, 55.5) 224.9.
14. Adam Malysz, Poland, (123.0, 56.4, 55.0; 123.5, 57.3, 54.0) 222.7.
15. Simon Ammann, Switzerland, (120.5, 51.9, 52.5; 124.5, 59.1, 54.5) 218.0.
16. Michael Uhrmann, Germany, (121.0, 52.8, 53.5; 122.0, 54.6, 54.0) 214.9.
17. Dmitry Vassiliev, Russia, (118.0, 47.4, 52.0; 126.0, 61.8, 53.0) 214.2.
18. Tami Kiuru, Finland, (122.0, 54.6, 54.0; 120.5, 51.9, 53.5) 214.0.
19. Martin Schmitt, Germany, (116.5, 44.7, 52.5; 125.5, 60.9, 54.5) 212.6.
20. Georg Spaeth, Germany, (122.0, 54.6, 54.0; 119.5, 50.1, 53.5) 212.2.
21. Andreas Widhoelzl, Austria, (123.0, 56.4, 53.5; 119.0, 49.2, 51.0) 210.1.
22. Jan Matura, Czech Republic, (116.5, 44.7, 52.0; 121.5, 53.7, 54.0) 204.4.
23. Jens Salumae, Estonia, (118.0, 47.4, 52.0; 120.5, 51.9, 52.5) 203.8.
24. Sigurd Pettersen, Norway, (121.0, 52.8, 53.5; 116.5, 44.7, 51.5) 202.5.
25. Tsuyoshi Ichinohe, Japan, (122.5, 55.5, 53.0; 115.5, 42.9, 51.0) 202.4.
26. Kamil Stoch, Poland, (116.5, 44.7, 51.5; 121.0, 52.8, 51.0) 200.0.
27. Dmitry Ipatov, Russia, (118.0, 47.4, 52.5; 116.5, 44.7, 52.5) 197.1.
28. Jernej Damjan, Slovenia, (116.5, 44.7, 52.5; 115.0, 42.0, 53.0) 192.2.
29. Rok Benkovic, Slovenia, (118.0, 47.4, 52.5; 113.0, 38.4, 52.0) 190.3.
30. Stefan Read, Canada, (118.5, 48.3, 50.5; 113.0, 38.4, 51.0) 188.2.

Did not qualify
31. Radik Zhaparov, Kazakhstan, (116.5, 44.7, 51.0) 95.7.
32. Martin Koch, Austria, (116.0, 43.8, 51.0) 94.8.
33. Denis Kornilov, Russia, (115.0, 42.0, 52.0) 94.0.
34. Primoz Peterka, Slovenia, (115.0, 42.0, 50.0) 92.0.
35. Risto Jussilainen, Finland, (114.0, 40.2, 51.5) 91.7.
36. Sebastian Colloredo, Italy, (114.0, 40.2, 50.0) 90.2.
37. Guido Landert, Switzerland, (111.0, 34.8, 50.5) 85.3.
38. Robert Mateja, Poland, (111.0, 34.8, 50.0) 84.8.
39. Kim Hyun-ki, South Korea, (110.5, 33.9, 50.5) 84.4.
40. Borek Sedlak, Czech Republic, (110.0, 33.0, 50.0) 83.0.
41. Ildar Fatchullin, Russia, (109.5, 32.1, 50.5) 82.6.
42. Daiki Ito, Japan, (112.5, 37.5, 45.0) 82.5.
43. Alan Alborn, United States, (108.0, 29.4, 50.5) 79.9.
44. Alessio Bolognani, Italy, (104.0, 22.2, 48.5) 70.7.
45. Ondrej Vaculik, Czech Republic, (104.5, 23.1, 47.0) 70.1.
46. Ivan Karaulov, Kazakhstan, (103.0, 20.4, 48.5) 68.9.
47. Choi Heung-chul, South Korea, (101.0, 16.8, 48.5) 65.3.
48. Nikolay Karpenko, Kazakhstan, (101.5, 17.7, 47.5) 65.2.
49. Robert Kranjec, Slovenia, (102.0, 18.6, 44.5) 63.1.
50. Graeme Gorham, Canada, (99.5, 14.1, 47.0) 61.1.

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