While Karl Geiger experienced his personal ski jumping debacle on the mountain of destiny in Innsbruck, at least one member of the German team was in a really good mood: Philipp Raimund. The youngster is at the Four Hills Tournament for the first time and jumps right into the hearts of the fans and the team.

This new ski jumping face makes the weakening German team happy. When it came to Philipp Raimund, the faces of national coach Stefan Horngacher and top athlete Karl Geiger suddenly relaxed. “Hille is really a funny and bright guy, I would also say extroverted guy. He approaches people. He’s extremely inexperienced. I think he just doesn’t give a shit,” reported Geiger at halftime in the current 71. Four Hills Tournament.

At 22, Raimund is currently the youngster in Coach Horngacher’s team. And the best – at least in qualifying for the third competition in Innsbruck (1.30 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport). He was the closest to the top ten in eleventh. Unlike Geiger, who will surprisingly and conceivably miss the competition as 51st.

But it is not the results (14th in Oberstdorf, 15th in Garmisch-Partenkirchen) that made Raimund famous. The Oberstdorfer by choice also attracted attention with his bold manner and his refreshing interviews. “Sometimes the trainers have to slow him down. When he’s in his euphoria, he would only give autographs and interviews – and miss the next jump,” said Geiger with a touch of exaggeration. In the past five or six years, Germany’s ski jumping team has always consisted of the same faces, and now a new one is joining them.

Horngacher sees all sporting basics in the protégé. “It’s just a process over the next few years to make better use of this potential. Then he’ll take the step to be at the top,” said the 53-year-old.

Where he still has room for improvement in terms of sport, he has already reached the top in another category: as a conversation partner. “Sometimes you have to ask yourself if he doesn’t have a hairdresser – because he tells everything,” said Horngacher on the press podium. Geiger and Andreas Wellinger sat next to the coach and immediately had to grin.

(This article was first published on Wednesday, January 04, 2023.)