The Slovenia Times




The initial action was explosive, with Austria's Andreas Widh"lzl almost breaking Matti Hautam"ki's previous record of 231 m set in 2003. Widh"lzl jumped 234.5 m, only for the effort to be ruled out after he fell after landing. Matti Hautam"ki's form during the second half of the season had been outstanding and he'd won all four competitions of the Nordic tournee. The first day's ski-flying competition in Planica, saw him romp to his six consecutive World Cup victory in a fabulous run paralleling that of compatriot Janne Ahonen earlier in the season. He didn't jump as far as Andreas Widh"lzl but he had much better style and the Finn, with his world record unblemished, finished one tenth of a point in front of the Austrian. Third place went to Rom"ren. Slovenians had great first round. Robert Kranjec was third after his first jump (223 m), but he couldn't repeat the performance in his second jump (211 m) and finished the first day's competition in 10th. Rom"ren's 239 metres On the second day of competition, the final event of the ski-jumping season, the time finally came when Hautam"ki - and his record - met their match. Victory deservedly went to Bj"rn Einar Rom"ren, whose prodigious second jump of 239 metres consigned the Finn's earlier world record to the history books. In fact Rom"ren and the Finn had quite a little 'record-fest' going on between them. Rom"ren set a new mark of 234.5 metres in practice, then Hautam"ki went one metre further on his second jump, only to see Rom"ren eclipse his blinder a couple of minutes later. "I'm immensely happy! Everything was perfect today. That was my first victory in the World Cup this season. My heart was pounding wildly but I managed to remain calm in the air. The evening before the competition I was in the jury for the Miss Ski jumping contest. So I saw a lot of beautiful Slovenian girls in swimming suits, which motivated me for today's performance," were the first words of the new world-record holder. Experts think Rom"ren's jump will stand for many years. Janne Ahonen jumped 240 metres just minutes later, but he took a heavy tumble on landing and had to be cleared off the track courtesy of a stretcher. Seeing that he was about to receive the crystal globe trophy as the season's overall World Cup winner, Ahonen insisted on taking part in the prize-giving ceremonies before heading off to hospital to find out what was wrong with his back. Slovenian eagles Slovenia's coach, Matjaz Zupan, was very satisfied with the season: ''After a very slow start in November and December, we had a great finish to the season. Rok Benkovic became the World Champion in Oberstdorf and our team also won the bronze on the normal hill. Jernej Damjan performed very well throughout the season and he finished 15th in the overall World Cup standings. Benkovic was 5th and 7th here in Planica. I'm looking forward to the new Olympic season.'' The organizing committee did a superb job, even though they were scrambling right up until the last minute to get everything ready. The new hostel Dom Planica was also opened in Planica and it is the first building of a new Olympic complex to be completed. A new sports hotel and gym are also planned for next few years. Things are moving forward and we can't wait to see the best ski jumpers in action again next year.


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