Slovenia’s Ema Klinec won the first ever women’s ski flying event in Vikersund (NOR) on Sunday. The 24-year-old clearly prevailed over Silje Opseth of Norway and Yuki Ito of Japan in the world premiere with flights to 226 (new world record) and 223,5 meters. With her success, Klinec also won the overall ranking of RAW AIR 2023.
“We all had some doubts before the ski flying, me as well as everyone else. But now I’m overjoyed that I handled it all so well, I really enjoyed it. You need a lot of selfconfidence and you have to know the hill to be successful here. It worked out great for me in the end and I am incredibly proud now. That there is a new world record at the end is overwhelming, so three dreams came true for me this weekend,” said Klinec, who so far has three World Cup victories (ski flying did not count as part of the World Cup) and the World Championship title from Oberstdorf 2021 as her greatest successes.
The Norwegian Silje Opseth was also overjoyed with her second place, the story of the third-placed Yuki Ito even reads like a sports fairy tale.
Ito had been disqualified after a too late start at the last World Cup in Lillehammer and thus missed the qualification for ski flying (only the best 15 of the RAW AIR overall ranking were qualified). But considering the situation and the quality of Ito, all the coaches successfully lobbied for Ito to start in Vikersund after all with a kind of wildcard. In the end, 3rd place for Ito in ski flying and a great story:
“Ski flying was my big dream, after the competition in Lillehammer my dream was shattered and I was really devastated. But somehow the coaches, the other athletes and the FIS then gave me back this dream with the start permit, which is wonderful and I am incredibly grateful for it. That was the best gift of my life that I got from the ski jumping family.
I am now so unbelievably happy about my third place today that I can’t even describe it,” Ito rejoiced.
Katharina Althaus, Alexandria Loutitt and Maren Lundby finished 4-6, while Nika Kriznar, Abigail Strate, Eva Pinkelnig and Selina Freitag completed the top 10 in the first ski flying event in history.
Selina Freitag and Katharina Althaus managed to jump to third and second place in the RAW AIR overall ranking behind overall winner Ema Klinec, a great performance of the German team.
For the women the season finale in Lahti (FIN) is still on the agenda next weekend, the last and only competition in Lahti will already take place on Friday. Eva Pinkelnig from Austria is already confirmed as overall World Cup winner.
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