The team format of the final ski jumping competition of the Beijing Games ended the programme on a high note on Monday, as Austria edged out Slovenia on the very last jump to win a thrilling gold medal on a freezing cold night.
There was little to warm the handfuls of spectators in the stands, but the dizzying lead changes and high drama at the climax made enduring the sub-zero temperatures worth their while.
“I guess everybody could see it, that the competition is really exciting and for us, as well. It’s unbelievable how this all comes together at the end. It’s a crazy day,” Austria’s Daniel Huber said, still flushed with the glow of victory.
For Stefan Kraft, who jumped first for Austria and had to wait until his three team mates kept up their end of the bargain before celebrating, it was harder than most.
“It’s cold, you are nervous and you’re just waiting, but the other guys have done a really good job,” he said.
Austria came fourth in the team event in Pyeongchang, marking the first time they hadn’t made the podium in the large hill team competition since Salt Lake City in 2002, and Monday’s team was happy get back to where they feel they belong.
“Team competition is kind of different to the normal one, you’ve got the pressure not only on your shoulders, it’s separated on everybody’s shoulders,” Manuel Fettner, who took Austria’s final gold-winning jump said.
“I think everybody of us managed to do really good today and we had no bad jumps, all of us. And the two rounds, a really good job and yeah, so happy for the whole team, that we can call us Olympic champions,” the 36-year-old added.