The ski jumping madness in Willingen has many facets - the year 2016 was probably the craziest. At that time, not only did tens of thousands of fans want to go to the so-called Party World Cup, which, in addition to top-class sport, also offers a huge marquee, booming bass and a Mallorca feeling - but also a full-blown one camel that a man tried to drag through the admission control.
Since the organizers had banned the bringing of animals more than two decades earlier as a precaution, the case was quickly clarified. For the organizers in the Sauerland, the man with the most unusual souvenir was at least a nice PR gimmick, which is why they publicly announced: "The Ski Club Willingen had not set up its own camel parking area. And so the camel did not get through the eye of the needle at admission control ."
In 2023, the organizers should be happy when the normal madness reigns again in the tranquil little town with the huge Mühlenkopfschanze. Because even that they had had to do without in the past few years. In 2020 there was no jumping on Sunday because hurricane "Sabine" blew through Western Europe. Then came the corona pandemic and for two winters in a row prevented crowds of spectators from being allowed to visit the well-known facility.
Geiger hopes for a successful comeback
The German ski jumpers, plagued by failures and setbacks this winter, are looking forward to the long weekend with a mixed competition on Friday (4 p.m./ARD and Eurosport) and individual competitions for women and men on Saturday and Sunday. "Great hill, great atmosphere, good form: Three competitions with full motivation, I'm really looking forward to Willingen!" said Olympic champion Andreas Wellinger, who was the only German ray of hope in the end. At the Kulm in Bad Mitterndorf, the Bavarian finished fourth, a return to the podium after more than four years could succeed in Willingen.
The longtime top athlete Karl Geiger is hoping for a successful comeback in the World Cup after his short break from competition. "The training in Oberstdorf was good for me. We trained well, we were able to do the training sessions in Oberstdorf under optimal conditions. I feel better, I've regained a little more confidence," said the 29-year-old.
Geiger had big problems at the Four Hills Tournament and afterwards, he now wants to get in shape for the World Cup in Planica, Slovenia (February 21 to March 5). "Karl showed some very good jumps," said national coach Stefan Horngacher about the units in his home town of Oberstdorf. "It's always a great event, this year with a full house, with many spectators - I'm really looking forward to it," said Geiger. The Norwegian Tournament winner Halvor Egner Granerud, who now also leads the overall World Cup, is the clear favorite for the competitions.