Nordic World Ski Championships: Wellinger’s perfect flight – sport
Andreas Wellinger sketched the ideal just three months ago in Engelberg. How to ski jump perfectly, he was able to present with impressive precision, because he had just finished school again.
In the summer of 2019 he tore his cruciate ligament and was just trying to put a disappointing season behind him when he plunged into the deeper depths of his sport. But, as it turned out, Wellinger had three and a half years ahead of him in which he would first officially recover, do sports again and finally be able to jump again. But jumping is not just jumping, because to go far in competition you need that grumpy and unpredictable companion, form.
Now, in Planica at the World Championships, he has won them back. Wellinger, 27, finished second on the normal hill on Saturday. With a little more generosity on the part of the judges, he would have been world champion in this extraordinarily exciting and close final. But the point deviations were not serious either, so the Ruhpoldinger won silver behind the Pole Piotr Zyla, who at the age of 36 still showed a fabulous competition and improved from 13th place to first place. Karl Geiger came in third.
Even without higher points, Wellinger’s jump corresponded to the ideal he had presented at the beginning of this season, as if he were actually taking a run-up: The challenge for him, he said, was the approach position, “my knee is too far forward, the upper body is passive “. It was now cold in Planica, night had fallen, the ski jumpers ended the day with a moody wind, but Wellinger was on time. His crouch in the first round was correct, otherwise he would not have been among the top ten jumpers here.
Dominator Granerud is passed and misses the top ten
It was already clear early on that the competition would once again bear the symptoms of the World Cup. That this single event, charged with a lot of meaning, would produce its own excitement and also different winners than in the World Cup and Tournament. Four favorites had emerged early this winter: Stefan Kraft, Anze Lanisek, Dawid Kubacki and Halvor Egner Granerud. The Austrian, the Slovenian, the Pole and the Norwegian failed on this hill. No one could keep up with the rhythm of this run, even Granerud, who is well ahead in the World Cup, was passed and missed the top ten.
But Wellinger was back in his element. Already in the two weeks before he had made a decisive step with his victory, the first since 2017, which he recently achieved in Lake Placid in the USA. He probably took away his last doubts about himself, also because he followed his ideal of a real jump precisely. If the upper body is well above the squat when approaching, “then I can play to my strengths,” he said, because then there is “energy in the jump.”
However, playing to your strengths is easy to say. If you sit on top of the beam and the wind blows from the right and left and from behind and in front, as it did on this evening, and if the jumper then has to slide back off the beam and have to wait again, then you can no longer achieve all your ideals . In the second round, Poland’s Piotr Zyla also had a career-unique jump when he set a new hill record, which discouraged some of the other top cracks a bit.
The perfect take-off for the most streamlined flying position
Wellinger’s best moment should have been the jump. Because he has succeeded in what guarantees flight altitude and flight distance. The strength of his legs had finally generated the necessary momentum for a torque. Legs, torso, head, helmet and skis rotated forward into the most aerodynamic flight position, in a school-like manner, that is, all by themselves. In other words, he’s finally managed to pull off a near-perfect jump again at an all-watching event.
Anyone who has been away from the window for so long in their sport will be a little more cautious, even if their name is Wellinger and they like to make a cheeky joke, even if they are successful. So Andreas Wellinger didn’t get too annoyed for too long about the judges’ somewhat stingy performance marks, which possibly deprived him of the decisive two-point-six points that he lacked for gold.
He broke off the lawsuit on his own, perhaps because protracted anger is only a distraction in a major event, an event that also included other tasks such as mixed jumping the next evening. Instead, Wellinger said: “I’m incredibly happy about the two jumps”. Because they were almost perfect, in other words “awesome”.