Alexa

Schlierenzauer leads Austrian ski jumping sweep

Schlierenzauer leads Austrian ski jumping sweep

Gregor Schlierenzauer mastered difficult conditions Friday to lead an Austrian sweep of the top three places in the first leg of the Four Hills Tour ski jumping competition.
Andreas Kofler settled for second even though he led after the first jump, while defending tour champion Thomas Morgenstern was third.
Schlierenzauer and many other top jumpers benefited from the first round being abandoned after 34 competitors because of heavy snowfall and strong winds, and later restarted with the early results annulled. The Austrian was among the early victims of shifting winds and was set to miss the cut for the second round if the series had not been restarted.
But with the wind calming down, Schlierenzauer put himself firmly in contention by clearing 133 meters after the restart. His second effort was the best of the day at 137.5 meters and earned him a winning total of 283.3 points.
Kofler had to cut short his second jump when he was caught by a gust of wind but still landed at 133.5 meters. With a first effort of 131 meters, he took second place with 265.2 points.
Morgenstern posted jumps of 128 and 128.5 meters to finish third at 264.3.
Tom Hilde of Norway fell heavily upon landing and was taken away on a stretcher, but gave a thumbs-up sign.
The Four Hills Tour, which is part of the World Cup circuit, continues with the traditional New Year's Day competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday.