Ryoyu Kobayashi takes Four Hills crown despite missing out on sweep

Ryoyu Kobayashi missed a chance to become the first ski jumper in history to sweep the prestigious Four Hills Tournament for the second time on Thursday, but still managed to claim his second overall win and a place at the Olympics.

Kobayashi, who won the first three legs of the 70th Four Hills Tournament, finished fifth in the fourth and final leg held in Bischofshofen, Austria, with a total of 277.8 points after two 133.5-meter jumps.

The 25-year-old World Cup leader completed the Four Hills series with 1,162.3 points, securing the golden eagle trophy for the first time in three seasons.

“These past two years were filled with memories of some tough jumping competitions,” Kobayashi said. “It feels very different (from my maiden Four Hills triumph in 2018-2019). I’m happy to win the golden eagle again.”

Austrian Daniel Huber claimed his first World Cup victory on home snow to win the final leg of the four-stage competition.

The event marked the end of the sport’s Beijing Games qualification period, with Kobayashi and four other Japanese male jumpers — Yukiya Sato, Junshiro Kobayashi, Daiki Ito and Naoki Nakamura — virtually guaranteed spots at the Games, which begin Feb. 4.

The official announcement will mean the Kobayashi brothers will be making their second straight Olympic appearance, while Ito will be chosen for his fifth straight Olympics. Sato and Nakamura will become first-time selections.

According to the Ski Association of Japan, the top five ski jumpers in the World Cup standings as of Thursday can qualify.

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