Ryoyu Kobayashi won the men’s ski jumping normal hill competition Feb. 6 to earn Japan’s first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics.
The 25-year-old took the lead with a 104.5-meter jump, the longest of the first round, worth 145.4 points and 6.2 more than anyone else. He sealed the gold in the evening’s final jump, flying 99.5 meters and raising his point total to 275.0.
Austria’s Manuel Fettner was second with 270.8, while Poland’s Dawid Kubacki was third on 265.9. Kobayashi’s older brother Junshiro qualified for the final round and finished 27th at Zhangjiakou National Ski Jumping Centre.
“I had the confidence that I have been delivering performances that allow me to aim for a podium at the games,” Kobayashi said in a post-event interview. “So it was good that I was able to believe in myself.”
The medal was Japan’s first on the normal hill since Kazuyoshi Funaki captured the silver in Nagano in 1998, and the first gold since Yukio Kasaya led a host-nation podium sweep in Sapporo 50 years ago.
Kobayashi, whose specialty is the large hill, was set to go for Japan’s first gold in that event since Funaki in 1998 and the first medal since Noriaki Kasai seized silver in 2014. (Kyodo)