Germans jump to gold


— It all came down to two teams and one jump Monday.

"Yes, my jump secured the gold medal, but we were lucky to make it," German ski jumper Martin Schmitt said with a chuckle after Monday's Team Special Jumping Competition near Park City, Utah. "I was hoping to jump over 130 meters, but I had a gust of wind which caused a problem. I ended up getting just enough meters."

The jump helped the Germans edge the team from Finland in the final standings.

One-tenth of a point was the German's margin of victory after Schmitt soared just 123.5 meters on his final effort to earn 121.7 points.

With teammates Sven Hannawald, Stephan Hocke and Michael Uhrmann, the Germans managed to collect 974.1 points.

Finland's Mattie Hautamaeki, Veli-Matti Lindstroem, Risto Jussilainen and Janne Ahonen scored 974 total points to earn the silver. Slovenia got a great showing from Robert Kranjec, who jumped 133 meters on his first effort. It helped the surprising Slovenian team earn the bronze medal with 946.3 points.

That team was followed by Austria (926.8) in fourth, Japan (926) in fifth and Poland (848.1) in sixth.

Switzerland, which was led by the sport's newest jumping sensation, Simon Ammann, placed seventh with 818.6 points and Korea was eighth with 801.

Norway came in ninth, France was 10th and the American team came in 11th with 728.4 points. The Czech Republic and Kazakhstan wrapped up the team finishes.

After moving the Germans into first place in the standings, Schmitt and his teammates were forced to wait and see how Finland's Ahonen would fare on his final attempt. Ahonen was the final jumper on the hill and soared 125.5 meters, netting 126.9 points. But in the end the effort came up just short of the gold.

"We are happy about the silver medal; of course, we would have liked to have won the gold," Ahonen said. "But it was not to be."

Schmitt said it was difficult to stand at the bottom of the hill and wait for his Finnish counterpart.

"I just kept saying, 'Please, please, please, please let me win,'" Schmitt said.

At the end of the day, his wish was answered, and it all came down to just one jump.


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