Qualification for the men's large hill individual ski jump at the 2014 Winter Olympics will commence on Friday.
The normal hill jump was knocked on Sunday, with Poland's Kamil Stoch, Slovenia's Peter Prevc and Norway's Anders Bardal taking home gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
Between the skiers traveling ungodly distances and NBC's ability to swap seamlessly between different camera angles, ski jumping is always one of the more enjoyable events to watch at the Winter Olympics. There's a simple elegance to the event, and when else do you have an opportunity to watch it?
Of the two, large hill is arguably more exciting, as the participants have an extra 30-plus meters with which to build speed before the takeoff.
The normal hill competition is generally 105 meters, while the large hill is up around 140 meters. Dennis Passa of the Associated Press wrote that it's "roughly equivalent to a 40-story fall in about nine seconds."
There was some talk about the course after Stoch crashed in training on Wednesday, as did Russian Mikhail Maksimochkin, who fractured two ribs.
Passa reported, though, that the organizers believe the hill to be safe and won't be making any kind of changes.
Here's a brief preview for what is to come on Day 7.
When: Friday, Feb. 14, at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: RusSki Gorki Jumping Center, Sochi, Russia
Watch: NBCSN (coverage starts at 2:15 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: NBC Olympics Live Extra
Here's a look at the 61 skiers who will look to advance to the first round. Of those 61, 10 have already qualified. Among that group are the three medal winners from Sunday.
|Men's Large Hill Individual Qualification Round|
|1||Nicholas Alexander||United States||-|
|3||Sorin Iulian Pitea||Romania||-|
|6||Chil-Ku Kang||South Korea||-|
|7||Roman Koudelka||Czech Republic||-|
|9||Heung-Chul Choi||South Korea||-|
|13||Anders Johnson||United States||-|
|15||Hyun-Ki Kim||South Korea||-|
|17||Seou Choi||South Korea||-|
|19||Peter Frenette||United States||-|
|20||Nicholas Fairall||United States||-|
|26||Ronan Lamy Chappuis||France||-|
|27||Antonin Hajek||Czech Republic||-|
|35||Jakub Janda||Czech Republic||-|
|41||Jan Matura||Czech Republic||-|
A few of the favorites to advance are Austria's Michael Hayboeck, Poland's Maciej Kot, Slovenia's Jernej Damjan and Finland's Anssi Koivuranta. Those four are among the highest finishers in the normal hill who haven't already pre-qualified.
Hayboeck posted an impressive 258.0 in the final round of the normal hill, missing out on a medal by 6.1 points. Repeating that finish may be difficult, but he should advance to the next round at the very least.
Kot and Damjan finished within 1.1 points of each other in the normal hill final round, with Kot in seventh and Damjan in ninth.
Should any of those four aforementioned skiers be eliminated on Thursday, it would be a massive shock.
Looking at each country, Austria in particular should perform well. Thomas Diethart and Gregor Schlierenzauer have already qualified, while Hayboeck and Thomas Morgenstern, who finished 14th on Sunday, look like solid bets to make it through as well.
If you're also looking for somebody for whom to root, Morgenstern is your guy.
On Jan. 10, he suffered a head injury and a damaged lung in a bad crash during training.
The 27-year-old acknowledged how difficult it was to get back on the hill again, per BBC Sport's Nick Hope:
"I was in my hospital bed thinking 'why am I lying here?'" he said. "I didn't and still can't remember what happened."
"It was the hardest time of my life.
"To take part in any competition and go back on the hill after what has happened was so difficult and even to think about ski jumping again was hard."
Now, here he is in Sochi with a chance to possibly medal in large hill individual. Doing so would make Morgenstern one of the best stories of the Winter Olympics, so whatever progression he makes is a notable storyline.
Although Friday is merely the qualifying round, it's a good chance to see some of the top ski jumpers in the world get one step closer to a gold medal.