ZHANGJIAKOU, China – Ryoyu Kobayashi on Saturday added the Beijing Olympic men’s ski jumping large hill silver medal to the normal hill gold he won six days ago.
Kobayashi became the second Japanese to medal on both hills at the same Olympics — after Kazuyoshi Funaki in 1998 — but failed in his bid to be the first to win both.
The Japan ace took the lead with the longest first-round jump of 142 meters, worth 147.0 points, at Zhangjiakou National Ski Jumping Centre, but could not match Norway’s Marius Lindvik’s 151.3-point final leap.
Kobayashi’s second jump of 138 meters earned him 145.8 points and second place ahead of German bronze medalist Karl Geiger. Poland’s Kamil Stoch, the last jumper to win gold in both the large and normal hills at an Olympics, in 2014, was fourth.
“It’s difficult to describe my feelings,” Kobayashi said. “I’m very happy, but a little frustrated at the same time for missing the gold. But overall, I performed both jumps well and Lindvik had such a good jump, so I was defeated.”
If Kobayashi had won, he could have been the fourth jumper, and the first non-European, to win a double gold in individual events.
He said he knew the 23-year-old Lindvik had a great second flight ahead of him after hearing the cheers for his jump, and thought after landing his own that, “it fell a little short.”
Nonetheless, Kobayashi pumped his fist, satisfied for being able to deliver his jump.
The 25-year-old Kobayashi, who started a YouTube channel last summer in a bid to make ski jumping more familiar in a country where the sport is less popular than in Europe, said he hoped the intense competition at the Games would attract more fans in Japan.
“With young Lindvik winning the Games, I think many Japanese enjoyed this,” he said. “I hope they will stay interested and watch the World Cup, too.”
As for the final remaining event, the men’s team, Kobayashi said, “We all have various issues to address, and I want to do my best so I can perform well.”
Yukiya Sato finished 15th, Kobayashi’s older brother Junshiro 24th, and compatriot Naoki Nakamura 29th.
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