Team Champion today!
These guys are on a roll! After the double victory in the individual competition, the German ski jumpers around Markus Eisenbichler succeed in the next gold coup at the Nordic World Ski Championships.
Markus Eisenbichler danced through the snow with his team colleagues, Werner Schuster almost burst with pride on the trainer's tower: Only 24 hours after Eisenbichler's grandiose individual triumph, the Bavarian led the German eagles to the first team gold medal at a World Championships since 2001. "Madness, simply madness", said the outstanding double world champion after perhaps the best 24 hours of German ski jumping history.
Led by Eisenbichler and Karl Geiger, who had sensationally ensured Germany's first double World Championship victory since 1999 on Saturday, the "Fantastic Four" gave the competition another lesson. Eisenbichler, the once again outstanding violinist, Richard Freitag and Stephan Leyhe won the Bergisel in Innsbruck after eight jumps with 987.5 points, beating their hosts Austria (930.9) and Japan (920.2).
Dominance right from the start
The victory in team jumping was a clear affair right from the start. Geiger, surprisingly second in the singles one day before, brought the team with a dream jump to 129.0 m into the lead, which lasted until Eisenbichler's last flight. "At the last jump I was nervous, had to bring him down cleanly. I'm happy for the whole team," said Eisenbichler. Andreas Wellinger, who had to give his place to Leyhe at short notice, also cheered.
After Geiger's dream start, Friday (121.0 m), Leyhe (126.0) and Geiger (128.0) already provided a calming lead during the break. "These were two outstanding jumps by Markus and Karl," said Schuster at halftime. In the second run, the outstanding violinist (130.0), Friday (120.0) and Leyhe (128.5) extended the lead, Eisenbichler (128.5) brought home gold with the last Bergisel jump of the World Championships.
Gold coup on anniversary
Eisenbichler thus followed in the footsteps of Martin Schmitt, who had also become the last DSV-Adler World Champion in 2001, both individually and with the team. At the same time, a long dry spell ended: Germany had always missed the title at the last eleven World Championship team jumping events, including Normalschanze, and had even missed the podium seven times.
For Eisenbichler it was also the culmination of a great weekend: As the seventh ski jumper from a German team, he won individual gold on Saturday. Without a single World Cup victory he had travelled to Tyrol, but now he stood at the very top of the podium on Bergisel, who had been so unloved by the Germans lately. "How can you digest that when you've never won and suddenly have World Championship gold," said Eisenbichler.
Successor to Severin Freund
The last time Severin Freund had triumphed from the big hill was in Falun in 2015, Martin Schmitt and Sven Hannawald had won twice in Ramsau in 1999. Eisenbichler's roommate Geiger was also a real housekeeper. "That's so brilliant," said the Oberstdorf native: "I somehow smelled that I could get something here."
Further medals in sight
Meanwhile, the "fairy tale of the flying double room" is not yet finished: On Friday it's time for gold again on the Normalschanze in Seefeld, a day later the Mixed follows. And Markus Eisenbichler hasn't had enough yet.