"Just beautiful": Oberstdorf overpowers ski jumping "rough diamond"

Normally, Philipp Raimund only jumps in front of a few dozen spectators.

"Just beautiful": Oberstdorf overpowers ski jumping "rough diamond"

Normally, Philipp Raimund only jumps in front of a few dozen spectators. This time the 22-year-old is also taking part in the Four Hills Tournament, and after qualifying he is already enthusiastic. Meanwhile, a top duel awaits Karl Geiger right at the start.

Philipp Raimund was enthusiastic. The 16,000 euphoric ski jumping fans at the Schattenbergschanze already made the 22-year-old grin in turn during the qualification for the start of the Four Hills Tournament. "It's just wonderful," said Raimund, for whom an appearance in the World Cup is something special.

"In the COC you usually don't have any spectators - maybe 20 or 30 people," he said, referring to the Continental Cup, the second ski jumping league in which he usually competes. In his adopted home of Oberstdorf, of all places, he was able to experience the festive spirit. For the first time since the beginning of the corona pandemic, there are no longer any viewer restrictions on the tour. "You can hear the quake in the stadium," he said. "It was a lot of fun."

And Raimund not only enjoyed, he also delivered. His jump of 131 meters was enough for 14th place and thus for the sovereign qualification. National coach Stefan Horngacher was also very satisfied. "He's a diamond in the rough," said the 53-year-old on ZDF about Raimund. This Thursday at the start of the tour in the Allgäu he wants to prove it again from 4.30 p.m. (ZDF and Eurosport). Raimund then meets the Finn Vilho Palosaari in a knockout match.

Ski jumping fans can also look forward to the start of the tour. World champion against world champion, former Oberstdorf winner against former Oberstdorf winner: Such duels only occur at the Four Hills Tournament - and even then only rarely. This time Germany's top man Karl Geiger meets Austria's top jumper Stefan Kraft.

"Unfortunately, I got a bit of a bad knockout partner. If the jumps stay like this, I don't need to piss my shirt off," said Geiger. The fact that there is now a duel between the jump greats was not due to Geiger, who was on target in seventh place in the qualification. But rather in strength, which was only 44th on a weak day.

The 29-year-old violinist can even gain something from the difficult task. "That can even be an incentive. He always jumps damn well in Oberstdorf. But I still have reserves," said the man from the Allgäu. After his previous performances in the World Cup, Kraft is one of the narrow favorites, Geiger is more of an extended one. Such duels are known in the history of the tour, especially from the times of Sven Hannawald. During his triumph in 2001/02, the former ski jumping star skipped qualification four times and started with number 50 against the winner of the preliminary round. Something like that is no longer possible 21 years later because nobody is fixed for the competition anymore.