Four Hills Tournament: folk hero from Zakopane (neue-deutschland.de)

Foto: AFP or licensors

Shortly before the start of this 69th Four Hills Tournament, Kamil Stoch posted a picture of the Three Kings and the Star of Bethlehem. “It is the time of miracles. Anything can happen, ”he wrote. At this point in time, the Polish ski jumping team, which had been completely quarantined because of the supposedly positive corona case from Klemens Muranka, was given the right to start the tour in Oberstdorf at the last minute. A good week after this rollercoaster of emotions, Kamil Stoch is facing his third overall tour victory after 2017 and 2018 at the final competition in Bischofshofen on Wednesday (4.30 p.m. / live on ZDF and Eurosport).

The folk hero from Zakopane is someone who translates poetic words into impressive deeds. “Kamil is a 100 percent professional who subordinates everything to sport. He brutally challenges himself and is extremely annoyed if he doesn’t win, ”says German national coach Stefan Horngacher, drawing a psychogram of the high-flyer. He looked after Stoch for three years as the Polish head coach and raves about Stoch’s »extraordinary abilities: Kamil’s body is 100 percent built for ski jumping. He has mastered all the elements from jumping to flight and landing. He’s the perfect ski jumper. “

Stoch proved this at the latest in 2017/2018 at the Four Hills Tournament, when he was able to win all four competitions. But Stoch also has three individual Olympic victories as well as two World Cup titles and overall World Cup triumphs on his success account. In Poland, the social media millionaire is reverently called “King Kamil” and is on a par with world footballer Robert Lewandowski in terms of popularity.

In general, the importance of ski jumping in Poland is enormous: When the previous season was canceled due to the beginning corona pandemic and no more flights could be booked, Stoch and Co. were brought home from Norway on a government plane. The jumpers from Poland also owed the last-minute start to this Four Hills Tournament to their excellent relationships with big politics. After the Corona lock in Oberstdorf, even Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki put pressure on: “For us Poles, winter begins with ski jumping. You mustn’t allow this blatant injustice. «So the Polish team was allowed to test their way against all hygiene plans. And afterwards Stoch repeatedly thanked “all Poles who fought for us and opened up these opportunities for us.”

The Polish team, now headed by the Czech head coach Michal Dolezal, moved even closer together and dominated the Four Hills Tournament after Stoch took second place. In Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck, the team took three of the top four places. The duel for the overall tour victory is also a purely Polish matter: Innsbruck triumphant Stoch goes into the final in Bischofshofen with a lead of 15.2 points over New Year’s winner and defending champion Dawid Kubacki. There are four Poles in the top ten after three competitions. “They have a great team, and great athletes like Stoch or Kubacki then create top performances from this breadth,” says Horngacher.

He himself laid the foundation for this with his know-how while working in Poland. Now the Austrian is trying to further develop the German aviators. His model student is Karl Geiger, who surprisingly became world ski flying champion in December. “Karl can be compared to Kubacki. There’s a lot more to Karl in there, in some situations you still need patience, ”says Horngacher. As with the tour: Oberstdorf winner Geiger lost all chances of the first German overall victory in 19 years with his 16th place in Innsbruck.

24.7 points behind – that’s the equivalent of almost 14 meters – on the incredibly constant stoke should be too much. In the overall result, Geiger and Markus Eisenbichler are fourth and fifth, behind the two Poles and the Norwegian Halvor Egner Granerud, but they both want to at least make it onto the podium. Then they would at least be standing there next to “wonder man” Kamil Stoch.

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