Althaus misses the magic mark
Efinally fly. As far as it goes. For Catherine Althaus it’s a childhood dream. In her sport, she wanted nothing more than long flights on a large hill. For years, the three-time ski jumping world champion of the most recent Nordic title fights in Planica dreamed of it. It came true on Sunday.
Not quite the way the 26-year-old from Oberstdorf had imagined. However, now women are also en vogue. They do it like men. Drive up Vikersund’s “Monsterbakken”, look deep down into the valley – and pick up speed in the inrun track, only to take off shortly afterwards.
Ski flying on Norway’s largest ski jump – a treat for those who can. It is more than overdue that women are now allowed to do the same. Katharina Althaus was one of the driving forces behind gender equality in ski flying. Yes, it’s true: Not only Halvor Egner Granerud, the current dominator of the Raw Air series that ended this weekend, is a fantastic ski flyer. Women can do it too. Above all, the current best in her field, Ema Klinec. The daring athlete from the ski jumping nation of Slovenia managed on Sunday what Katharina Althaus was unable to do: fly more than 200 meters.
Of course there were records. No wonder, because it was the premiere in women’s ski flying. Ema Klinec taught her competitors a lesson. The Slovenian flew down the hill calmly and skilfully. Thanks to the appropriate air cushion, she pulled the flight down as far as possible. 226 meters in the first attempt, 223.5 meters in the second. World class, world class, world record.
“The 200 is a childhood dream”
To fly more than 200 meters – Katharina Althaus always wanted to do that. It didn’t work out in Vikersund. The woman from the Allgäu carried it to 194 and 190 meters, which put her in fourth place. The magical 200-meter mark remained untouched for them. Selina Freitag (188 and 170.5 meters) and Anna Rupprecht (173 and 142.5 meters) were also unable to break the sound barrier. “Unfortunately, my dream didn’t quite come true,” said Katharina Althaus on ARD. “I wished that I had a two hundreder with me.” Thoughts of the end of her career, which had already been speculated about after her gold rush at the World Championships in Planica, are dead for the ambitious ski jumper. “I definitely have to keep going. The 200 is a childhood dream, I want to fulfill it.” And promised: “I’ll do everything for it.”
Ema Klinec did this in an exemplary way. Neither the Norwegian Silje Opseth nor the Japanese Yuki Ito were able to penetrate into their spheres. And because the Raw Air series came to an end at the weekend with the historically first women’s ski flying, Ema Klinec can not only look forward to sporty flights into new dimensions. The trip to the motherland of Nordic skiing was also economically worthwhile for her, because the overall victory is equivalent to a prize of 40,000 euros.
The group of women who were officially allowed to ski fly for the first time was small and manageable. Only 15 jumpers were admitted to the premiere. There was almost an uproar, because the Japanese Ito started at traffic lights in the previous competition and was initially disqualified. As a result, she had lost her top 15 placement and thus her right to start. But the guild has shown strength. A petition from all coaches was granted. Ito was allowed to fly. A good decision – just like the decision that the flying women can now take off from the really big bakeries.