Poland's Kamil Stoch couldn't be touched on Sunday in the men's ski jumping competition.
The ski jumping star dominated the normal hill and his competitors on Sunday, winning the gold medal over the field in a landslide victory, as highlighted by BBC Sport:
His final score of 278.0 was more than 12 points better than that of silver medalist, Peter Prevc of Slovenia, and more than 14 points better than Anders Bardal of Norway, who earned bronze for his efforts.
It was the first medal of any kind for Poland at the 2014 Winter Games, and Stoch was carried off like a hero after his outstanding performance, as pointed out by BuzzFeed Sports:
The big win wasn't particularly surprising.
Stoch is the current large-hill World Champion, having won gold in the 2013 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy nearly a year ago. He's also the current World Cup leader and was expected to finish on the podium on both the normal and large hill at Sochi.
Additionally, the Olympics represent something truly special to the Polish ski jumper.
"The Olympic Winter Games are huge, it's fantastic,” said Stoch before the Games, via Jason Evans of Olympic.org. “This is the event that I wait to compete in every four years, it’s the reason that I work so hard.”
So far, his hard work is paying off.
Here's a look at the top-10 finishers from the normal hill event on Sunday:
Prevc and Bardal both put forth excellent efforts to finish on the podium, but neither man could come close to matching Stoch's brilliance.
Austrian jumpers fared well, but not well enough to earn a medal, as Thomas Diethart and Michael Hayboeck finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Poland and Slovenia both showed up again in the top 10, along with surprising Noriaki Kasai of Japan, who finished in eighth place.
Three American jumpers got through qualifiers to jump in Round 1, but none fared any better than Nicholas Alexander, who finished in 34th place. All three Americans missed out on the final round, which featured only 31 contestants.
Peter Frenette, who finished in 45th place, wasn't happy about his jumps but looked forward to improving his stock on the large hill, as he relayed on Twitter:
Before Stoch, Frenette and the rest of the competitors get a crack at the large hill, however, the ladies will compete on the normal hill on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Then, the men will attempt to qualify for the large hill beginning on Feb. 14 and will finish up with the final on Feb. 15.
Closing out the ski jumping events will be the men's team competition, which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 17.
It will be fascinating to see if any of the jumpers can match Stoch on the big hill.
He comes into Sochi on a hot streak, which was clearly illustrated on the normal hill. Utilizing stellar mechanics and flawless form, the Polish ski jumper is jumping on another level right now, and it's going to take nothing less than a perfect performance by one of his rivals to take him down.
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