Shock medal for Russian ski jumpers after Olympic rivals suffer unusual disqualification
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team won an unexpected silver medal in the mixed team ski jump in Beijing, as a rollercoaster event saw several rivals suffer disqualifications due to violations with their suits.
In remarkable scenes on Monday at the Zhangjiakou Ski Jump Center, the ROC quartet of Evgenii Klimov, Danil Sadreev, Irma Makhinia and Irina Avvakumova finished second in the standings with 890.3 points.
That put them behind the Slovenian gold medal-winning team who amassed a tally of 1,001.5 points, but ahead of Canada, who took bronze with 844.6 points.
There was drama earlier in the event when world champions and odds-on favorites Germany saw women’s star Katharina Althaus disqualified for a suit violation during qualifying.
That meant the Germans only had three scoring jumpers out of four, and they finished ninth of the 10 competing nations in the first round as they failed to reach the final.
Norway and Japan also suffered issues with the rules but still made the final, while another strong favorite, Austria, saw Daniela Iraschko-Stolz penalized for regulations which link suits and skis to bodyweight to avoid any advantage for lighter athletes.
The Japanese team ended up having to settle for fourth overall as Austria languished down in fifth.
“For me it is a puppet theater,” fumed German national team coach Stefan Horngacher, according to Reuters.
“I am unbelievably angry and I don’t understand it. We had super jumps, all were super, you can only be disappointed with this.”
Horngacher explained that Althaus had worn the same suit in Saturday’s individual event, where she won silver.
However, if her weight had fallen since then, her suit would need adjusting as it would be too big – which German coach Maximilian Mechler told ZDF television was the issue.
Ski jumping suits must follow strict measurements to ensure they don’t help function as wings and give athletes an unfair advantage.
The Russian team was not complaining however as they became the first stars from their homeland to win a ski jump medal of any kind since Vladimir Belousov claimed gold back in 1968 when representing the Soviet Union.
The mixed team ski jump event was making its Olympic debut at this year’s Games, although the event has been held at World Cup level since 2012.
The ROC silver medal means the team now has seven medals in total at the 2022 Beijing Games. That tally is made of up two gold, three silver, and two bronze medals.
Earlier on Monday, the ROC figure skating team claimed gold in their event, capped by a history-making performance from 15-year-old Kamila Valieva.
The ROC team has already matched the gold medal total achieved at the PyeongChang Games in South Korea four years ago.