Led by Noriaki Kasai, Japan is one of the gold medal favorites.
Day 10 of the 2014 Winter Olympics brings the conclusion of the ski jumping competition with the men's team event. With the medal race tightening up as the Sochi Olympics concludes, it's the last chance for a few countries to earn separation in an event they have succeeded in.
For fans who want to catch the sport's final event, check out the full TV info below:
|Feb. 17||Men's Team Large Hill- First Round||12:15||N/A|
|Feb. 17||Men's Team Large Hill- Final Round||1:15||NBCSN|
So, what should we expect to see from the lone ski jumping team competition at Sochi? Here are a few countries to watch, as well as predictions for the podium finish.
Austria is the defending gold medalist in this event and one of the sport's strongest traditional powers. However, it is worth noting that only the large hill is used in team competitions, as opposed to the normal hill, which is an individual event.
The Austrians fared poorly in this year's large hill event, with Gregor Schlierenzauer finishing seventh and Michael Hayboeck eighth. Indeed, even the Austrians are admitting their team is in less-than-stellar shape headed into the event, per Yahoo! Sports' David Ljunggren:
Austria, traditionally a strong jumping nation, won the team title in both 2006 and 2010 but have underperformed at Sochi and are in danger of missing out on a medal for the first time since 2002.
"We are not in the best shape, but we are all sportsmen who have won a lot so don't forget us. We are not the big favourites," world number four Gregor Schlierenzauer told reporters after a foggy training session.
Thus, the favorites may actually be Poland, who did not medal in the 2010 team event. Polish ski jumper Kamil Stoch won both the large and normal hill events and stands as the event's hottest competitor at the moment.
However, because there are four jumpers per team, depth is nearly as crucial as star power. In that sense, Japan stands out as another medal favorite, as all four of its members placed in the top 13 at the downhill.
Japan is led by Noriaki Kasai, who finished second to Stoch in the large hill. At 41 years old, Kasai's success is nothing short of remarkable, and he made history simply by medaling:
Noriaki Kasai, 41, wins silver in large hill. Goes 20 years between Olympic medals. Oldest ski jumping medalist. Wants to jump in 2018.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 15, 2014
Keep an eye on Germany as a dark horse to win the event. No one medaled in the individual large hill, but Severin Freund and Marinus Kraus finished fourth and sixth, respectively. The Germans won silver in Vancouver and figure to be strong challengers once again.
Stoch may be the sport's biggest star at the moment, but Japan simply has too much depth to overcome. Look for Germany to also squeak out the bronze medal over Slovenia, who are led by third-place large hill finisher Peter Prevc.