Two countries, four hills, one golden eagle: From this Friday onwards, the Four Hills Tournament for ski jumpers will once again be about a lot of sporting prestige and a lot of money for the winner.
Traditionally, jumping takes place in Oberstdorf (December 29th), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (January 1st), Innsbruck (January 3rd) and Bischofshofen (January 6th). The German fans are hoping for the first overall tour victory of a DSV Adler since Sven Hannawald's triumph in 2002. The most important questions and answers about the 72nd edition of the ski jump spectacle.
Who are the favorites?
The top favorite comes from Austria and knows how to win the tournament: Stefan Kraft is the best jumper of the season so far. The 30-year-old, who became tour champion in 2014/15, won five of eight competitions. Kraft also won the dress rehearsal in Engelberg, Switzerland. A trio of German challengers has formed behind Kraft. Andreas Wellinger, Karl Geiger and team senior Pius Paschke are also among the favorites.
Wellinger has shown the most consistency of the German team so far. The 28-year-old jumped onto the podium four times. Only once did he not finish in the top five. What Wellinger is still missing this season, Geiger and Paschke managed: Both have already enjoyed victories. Geiger won both competitions at the German home game in Klingenthal. The 33-year-old Paschke sensationally won the penultimate competition before the tour.
The tour winners of the last two years, Halvor Egner Granerud from Norway and the Japanese Ryoyu Kobayashi, have not shown their brilliant form so far this winter. Above all, Kobayashi, who has already won the tour twice, should not be written off.
What does the winner get?
In addition to the golden eagle, the overall winner of the tour can also look forward to a state financial bonus. There is 100,000 Swiss francs (around 105,000 euros) for the champion. In addition, there is the usual World Cup prize money from the Fis World Association for the individual competitions. They are paid out in stages to the best 30 athletes in each event. At the Four Hills Tournament, winning the qualification is also worthwhile. There are at least 3,000 francs (around 3,160 euros) for this.
What's the status of a women's tour?
It is clear that there should be a Four Hills Tournament for female ski jumpers. But when and how remains unclear. With the so-called “Two Nights Tour” the jumpers want to get closer together. For the first time, they are holding World Cups around the turn of the year on the traditional tour ski jumps in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (December 30th) and Oberstdorf (January 1st).
“We just need to turn a few screws so that we have a complete tour,” says world champion in the team and mixed team, Selina Freitag. Olympic champion Wellinger says: "They should get the chance for a Four Hills Tournament. It's a process that is still ongoing, where the women are developing extremely well."
There are currently too many organizational problems for a complete women's tour with competitions in all four locations. The ski associations from Germany and Austria are in discussions to resolve them. A tour premiere for the ski jumpers next year cannot be ruled out.
Where can you see the jumping?
For everyone who is not there live at the ski jump, there is again an extensive TV offering. ARD and ZDF traditionally split coverage of the tour. The ARD reports on the qualifications and competitions at the opening competition in Oberstdorf and at the conclusion in Bischofshofen, Austria. ZDF is there in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck. All qualifications and competitions can also be seen on Eurosport. The “Two Nights Tour” will be broadcast in full by Eurosport. The ARD also reports on the first women's jumping competition, the ZDF on the New Year's competition by the athletes around three-time world champion Katharina Schmid.