Creative Common photo Yk1967

Omedetto Gozaimus = Congratulations !

The hotshot has brought home what everyone had predicted in the last few days. And somehow it had become apparent early on in this not so long season of the 2018-2019 winter that Ryouyu Kobayashi has ambitious plans.

Even though he wasn't quite so successful yet last season, the young Japanese jumper already showed a clear increase compared to the winter 2016-2017 and at the beginning of the World Cup season 2018/19 finally for the first time ever in his career he made it to the podium in Wisła.

And only a week later he really got going. Kobayashi won his first World Cup, only to immediately follow up with two more wins. And by the start of the Four Hills Tournament he had already claimed his fourth victory and was now clearly in the lead in the overall World Cup rankings. That's why he was also the top favorite for the season highlight which is held around the turn of the years and it was clear to everyone involved that they first have to get past the 22-year-old if they wanted to have a chance of winning themselves.

But also the Four Hills Tournament began, as the previous events of the season had ended. In Obersdorf, Kobayashi jumped the whole competition into the ground and all the other jumpers, who had been hoping for a good result before, could only watch, how the Japanese sailed down the hill nonchalantly.

And also in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Kobayashi set the standard vert clearly. Only Markus Eisenbichler was able to keep up with him in the first two stages of the tournament and ranked as second, behind only by a narrow margin. In the overall World Cup Eisenbichler was already way behind, but at the German stations of the Four Hills Tournamentnow he surprisingly showed his best performances of the season so far.

Then everyone went over to Austria, first to Innsbruck and then to Bischofshofen. And of course Kobayashi outperformed everyone again in the third event, but he also benefited from Eisenbichler's mistakes, which helped to extend his lead over the German.

Bischofshofen -Creative Common photo Pekka Tamminen

And the last jumping in Bischofshofen was to be his big triumph. But even high-flyers sometimes show nerves, and so did Kobayashi. After the qualification and the first jumping, the Japanese was surprisingly not at the top and suddenly things became exiting and thrilling again.

But this winter is the season of Ryouyu Kobayashi and at his very last jump at this four-jump-tournament he managed to jump 137,5 meters, once more a distance where the competition could only gaze in astonishment. Even if there were 3 more jumpers at the start, the Japanese team already broke out in cheers, which of course took off even louder after the remaining athletes, among them Markus Eisenbichler, had finished their jumps. Granted, the last Japanese overall victory at the Four Hills Tournament through Kazuyoshi Funaki was more than 20 years ago.

So Kobayashi sacked all four stages and of course the overall victory of the tournament, Eisenbichler finished in 5th place in Bischofshofen but defended second place in the overall classification ahead of Stephan Leyhe, also from Germany.

Ryouyu Kobayashi won all four stations of the Four Hills Tournament like only Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch before him so far and thus managed to achieve a historic result.

I can only bow down and say "Respect !", one year ago in the Japanese team not even this year's overall winner would have dreamed of this performance. This season, Kobayashi is and remains the clear favourite for winning the overall World Cup, where he is big in the leads, and also for the World Championships starting at the end of February in Seefeld, Austria.

What a great show, Mr. Kobayashi. For the rest of the season I can only wish you further success and a break a leg.