Ein script couldn’t have been better. A man from Oberstdorf wins the opening competition of the Four Hills Tournament on his Oberstdorf home hill – and can hardly believe his luck. “That’s just great,” said Karl Geiger on this “very special day”. It was far more than that. For the 27 year old ski jumper it was “the most exciting weeks of my life”.
What a density of events: Geiger became world champion in ski flying on a Saturday in Planica. Two days later his daughter Luisa was born. Two days later the bad news: The champion has Corona. “I have no idea how that could happen,” he said during the ten-day quarantine that made his start on the tour a race against time. Geiger won it – just like he was able to win this first highly exciting competition of the German-Austrian ski jumping spectacle, practically from zero to a hundred and without any training jumps.
A coup on the Schattenberg
A coup on the Schattenberg, on his house hill, which demanded all his skills, especially in the second round. “I thought: It’s already snowing properly,” he said later in retrospect. “At the World Championships in Seefeld, under similar conditions, I once bit the grass. So I made sure to stick with myself and make a clean jump. I succeeded. ”Typical Geiger.
The man remains grounded and does not answer – at least not with words. With his pair of skis, yes. His slogan: “What can I do but stay cool? Falling into hectic would be the wrong solution. ”Geiger, on the other hand, found the right one. He did not allow himself to be brought out of his concept, and the fact that he had to leave it again while sitting on the take-off board did not bother him. Geiger withstood the pressure of having to jump at least 136.5 meters in order to overtake the leader Kamil Stoch with the last jump of the competition. “Even the first round wasn’t easy, there was a lot of tailwind,” he said. “If you make the slightest mistake there, it will bring you down. You saw that at Eisei. “
Bad day for Eisenbichler
“Eisei” Markus Eisenbichler, Geiger’s long-time double room partner in non-Corona times, had made a bad jump to only 118 meters in the first round. As 27th, his hopes of having a say in the overall standings seemed to have melted away. “But he’s in insane shape,” said Geiger. “He showed it in the second too.” Eisenbichler improved by an astonishing 22 places, was fifth ahead of the Austrian overall World Cup winner Stefan Kraft and still has every opportunity in the fight for the Golden Eagle, which the overall winner will receive on January 6th in Bischofshofen. Geiger anyway.
After Geiger’s triumph, Stefan Horngacher, the national ski jumpers’ trainer, spoke of a “crime thriller”, in which emotional jumper Eisenbichler also played a major role. “Markus spoiled his first jump a bit and we were afraid that he would be eliminated. That would have been the worst case scenario. ”But that didn’t happen. Eisenbichler followed up, and Horngacher could hardly stop being amazed. “He showed a jump that was from another planet.” 142 meters. The longest sentence of the evening. Geiger did not jump that far, but he jumped twice consistently at the highest technical level and consolidated his top position with jumps on 127 and 136.5 meters. “Karl pulled it off – at its best,” said Horngacher appreciatively. On Wednesday, when the team made their way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where qualification for the New Year’s competition is due this Thursday, Horngacher said goodbye with a video message from the Allgäu. “You can always rely on Karl. When Karl is in his tunnel, he can call it up. At the moment he’s floating on a very good wave. “Geiger added:” It’s unbelievable what is happening at the moment. “
“It was just fantastic”
Geiger made sports history in Oberstdorf a few hundred meters away from his home. 61 years after the success of Max Bolkart, a ski jumper from the valley of the ski jumps has again succeeded in winning the opening competition of the Four Hills Tournament. The slightly inferior Pole Stoch, next to Sven Hannawald and Ryoyu Kobayashi only the third Grand Slam winner of the tour, could empathize with what went on in Geiger on this very special day. Stoch also experienced a day of extremes. “It was just fantastic – from getting up to the competition,” said Stoch.
Only excluded from jumping because of a supposedly positive corona test by a teammate, but then still allowed: “I feel great,” said Stoch. “I was allowed to do what I love: ski jumping.” Geiger also loves ski jumping. “That’s what I do best.” Good prerequisites for what’s to come. On New Year’s Day, the second jump continues on the Olympic hill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (2 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Four Hills Tournament and on ARD). With Geiger, with Eisenbichler – and with the big dream that the overall winner of the Four Hills Tournament will come back from Germany 19 years after Hannawald.