Kamil Stoch won his second gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics thanks to a fantastic performance in the ski jumping large-hill event.
The Polish star won the normal-hill competition earlier in the week and then built up a big lead in this event thanks to a score of 143.4 with his first jump. However, Japan's Noriaki Kasai kept the pressure on with two top-three jumps of his own.
Still, the judges gave Stoch just enough points to stay ahead of his opponent and take home another gold medal.
Peter Prevc—who earned a silver medal in the normal hill—had the best second jump in the competition and earned bronze.
Here is a look at the top 10, courtesy of Sochi2014.com:
|Men's Ski Jumping Large Hill Results|
This competition featured two medalists from the 2010 Vancouver Games, including four-time gold medalist Simon Ammann. However, the Austrian simply did not have it in him, finishing in 23rd place. Two-time individual bronze medalist Gregor Schlierenzauer only managed a seventh-place finish.
It seemed like no one was going to beat Stoch unless he somehow struggled, which clearly did not happen on Saturday.
Interestingly, the World Cup winner had dealt with multiple problems during his time at Sochi when he was not competing.
He was sick during the day before winning the gold medal in the normal hill. According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), he explained, "When I woke up I felt a headache and I had a high temperature, but the doctors did everything they could do (sic) bring me to life and they did. They did a good job, so thanks to them."
The Polish star then dealt with a bad crash during training for the large hill but shook off his injuries. He told Rosa Khutor of Reuters, "I feel very good and my jumps were also good. My elbow is hurting slightly but it's not a big problem."
Fortunately, he had no such problems once the competition started, as he was able to finish with his second gold medal of these Games. He was also carried off the course yet again by his teammates:
The United States did have three athletes qualify for the first jump, although expectations were not too high based on recent history:
Things certainly did not get off to a good start when Anders Johnson was disqualified for having an illegal suit, according to Douglas Gelevan of CBC:
Nicholas Alexander finished in 48th place while Nicholas Fairall ended in 35th, neither man qualifying for the final round.
Still, the big man of the day is Stoch, who proved in Sochi that he is truly the best ski jumper in the world. Kasai put forth a great effort to get to the top of the podium, but the 41-year-old veteran will have to settle for a silver.
Of course, this result has a big effect on the world of ski jumping. Stoch has now won two Olympic events, the World Cup and the most recent world championships in Val di Fiemme. It is clear that he is just entering his prime at 26 years old and will likely win many more awards in the future.
Then again, the young challenger Prevc is still improving and showed he is capable of some big results, as described by Greg Ferraro of NBC Olympics:
It remains to be seen if the 21-year-old Slovenian can win gold in the future, but he is certain to provide plenty of competition going forward.
For more ski jumping action, tune into the men's team competition Feb. 17 at 12:15 ET.
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