ZHANGJIAKOU (China), February 5: Ursa Bogataj came from behind to win the women’s individual ski jump title at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday — Slovenia’s first ever gold medal in the sport.
Bogataj trailed Germany’s Katharina Althaus after her first attempt but nailed a jump of 100 metres with her second try to finish on 239.0 points.
Althaus took silver on 236.8 points, followed by Slovenia’s Nika Kriznar on 232.0.
“I didn’t realise, but it felt very good when I saw the medal was mine,” said Bogataj, who is currently third in the World Cup standings.
“Then I saw Nika had one too and I was even more happy.”
Slovenia had previously won one silver and two bronze medals in Olympic ski jumping, all in men’s events.
Bogataj said she hoped her golden success would boost the sport’s popularity among girls in her country.
“Maybe in the future it will be as popular as it is with boys,” she said.
Althaus, who is second in the World Cup standings, had a 3.1 point lead after the first jump but could not match Bogataj’s dynamic second attempt.
“I’m very, very happy with my silver medal — it was a good competition for me,” said Althaus, who also won silver at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
“It was cold but I like the cold, so it’s not a problem for me.”
A few hundred local spectators braved freezing conditions to cheer and wave flags at Zhangjiakou National Ski Jumping Centre.
Japan’s Sara Takanashi, who has a record 61 World Cup victories but has never won the Olympic title, finished fourth.
World Cup overall leader Marita Kramer of Austria was ruled out of the competition after testing positive for Covid-19.
Defending Olympic champion Maren Lundby of Norway did not compete in Beijing after deciding to prioritise her mental and physical health. (AFP)