The Italian Predazzo hosts the ski jumping World Cup on January 11-13, 2019, and Polish athletes are looking to improve on the somewhat underwhelming performance during the Four Hills Tournament.
All six Polish jumpers qualified for the Saturday event. The best of them, Dawid Kubacki, finished third. The qualifiers were won, yet again, by the phenomenal Ryoyu Kobayashi.
Golden era of Adam Małysz
Located in the Val di Fiemme valley, Predazzo has witnessed many moments of joy and excitement related to glorious performances of Polish jumpers. In 2003, Adam Małysz won two gold medals there during the Nordic World Ski Championships, beating the records of both normal and large hills. The Italian “Corriere Della Sera” daily wrote at the time: “The Polish archangel has landed in Predazzo,” paying tribute to the great Polish jumper. The championships in Italy became a symbol of the “rebirth” of Adam Małysz, as the “Polish Eagle” managed to overtake his opponents in a race for the Crystal Globe trophy, to become the only jumper to win the World Cup three times in a row.
A worthy successor
Ten years later, the Nordic World Ski Championships again took place in Predazzo. After Adam Małysz ended his jumping career, Polish fans already had their eyes on another jumper with big potential, Kamil Stoch. The then 26-year-old Pole was second after the first round in the normal hill event, but, as a result of several mistakes during his jump in the final round, he ultimately finished eighth.
This big disappointment in the normal hill competition proved a turning point in his career, however. A few days later, he won a gold medal in the large hill event - his first major trophy. In an interview, Kamil Stoch recalled: “My father once told me, that I had to lose many, many times first, to finally achieve success”. The gold medal from 2013 was only the beginning - now, apart from a world champion title, Kamil Stoch is a triple Olympic champion, a team world champion, two-time World Cup winner and a double Four Hills Tournament winner, and his fans certainly have not seen the last of him.
The championships in 2013 were also the beginning of the great Polish team. Maciej Kot, Dawid Kubacki, Piotr Żyła and Kamil Stoch won bronze - the first medal in the team competition for Poland in the history of ski jumping. This achievement was matched in 2015 - that time, Kot and Kubacki were replaced by Klemens Murańka and Jan Ziobro, which proved the depth of Polish ski jumping squad. The gold medal in 2017, and bronze during Winter Olympics last year, were the icing on the cake, and the Polish team also have high hopes for the coming championships in Seefeld, Austria later this year.