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1ST LEAD Stoch holds off Wellinger for rare back-to-back large hill gold By John Bagratuni

Europe, Europa
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Pyeongchang, South Korea (dpa) - Polish icon Kamil Stoch hung on to his first-round lead to become only the second man to win back-to-back Olympic large hill ski-jumping golds on Saturday at the Pyeongchang Games.

Stoch made up for a fourth-place finish a week ago on the normal hill as he beat that winner Andreas Wellinger of Germany for gold while Norway‘s Robert Johansson took a second bronze.

The 2014 double gold medallist Stoch joins Finland‘s Matti Nykaenen, who won in 1984 and 1988, as back-to-back large hill Olympic champion.

He is also only the second man, after Japan‘s Kazuyoshi Funaki in 1998, to win large hill gold as reigning Four Hills champion, which he won for the second time in a row last month as the second man to achieve it with a grand slam.

The latest heroics Saturday add to his stardom as he shrugged off a monster jump from Wellinger in the second round to bag the gold.

"Today there was an outstanding level from many jumpers. These were the best jumps I could do today," Stoch said.

The Pole soared 135 and 136.5 metres for a winning total of 285.7 points, while Wellinger just missed double gold with 282.3 points from 135.5m and a competition best 142m.

Johansson, who is also getting plenty of attention for his moustache in South Korea, had 275.3 points from jumps of 137.5m and 134.5m.

Stoch said he had no problem rebounding from his fourth-place finish a week ago.

"I couldn‘t find my best feeling on the normal hill. But I wasn‘t disappointed with the result, and I was just trying to do my best today," he said.

Wellinger named his big second jump "really nice" but said he knew immediately after Stoch‘s second jump that he wasn‘t winning again.

Johansson delighted in his second bronze, saying: "For me these first Olympics have been kind of a dream. My first Olympics have gone so well."

Stoch meanwhile also thought of the huge number of adoring fans back at home in Poland and following him around on the circuit, although only a few managed to make the long trip to South Korea.

"It is a special relationship with the fans. I am also a fan - of football. I also want to meet my heros," he said.

"I wanted to give them something back. Maybe not everything of me but a part of me - that they can feel part of this as well."


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