It wasn't just another qualification...
History was written today in Norway´s National Arena: Andreas Wellinger became the first leader of the first Raw Air tournament. The qualification was kicked off in Holmenkollen Friday evening. The 21-year old German was all smiles when he received the first leader-jersey and the trophy crafted by Hadeland Glassworks. He said that he though about it as just another qualification before he made his jump, and maybe that was the key to beat the rest of the world elite?
For a lot of athletes the nerves got the best of them. Johann André Forfang was one of them, with two training jumps close to the hill record he didn´t manage to follow through when it mattered the most.
Ski jumping is a sport filled with proud traditions and history, so when something new is introduced and challenges limits it´s easy to understand that the pressure can be too much. It´s not just the athletes bodies that´s going to get challenged, but their mentality as well.
The hosts were excited and nervous as they welcomed the world elite, a couple of thousand spectators and Sonny Alven together with HMK Guard as an opening. The infamous Kollen-fog stayed absent and the sun was shining.
In the VIP-tent some of the legends of the sport sat discussing their careers. Lars Grini, Bjørn Wirkola, Per Bergerud and the newly retired Rune Velta. Between them they´ve won it all. Four Hill tournaments, World Championship and Olympic medals, won the competition in Holmenkollen and beaten world records.
Will “Winner of Raw Air” be just as big in as these merits in the future?