Kasai rewrites own mark as oldest to make podium

Jiji Press

Noriaki Kasai smiles on the medal podium after placing second on Sunday in Vikersund, Norway.

Jiji-Japan News VIKERSUND, Norway — Veteran Noriaki Kasai turned back the clock once again, rewriting his own record for oldest ski jumper to make a World Cup podium when he finished second at a meet Sunday in Vikersund.

Kasai, now 44 years 9 months, compiled 448.0 points on jumps of 239.5 and 241.5 meters to finish among the top three for the first time since March of last year. He also became the first male Japanese jumper to land on the podium this season.

Poland’s Kamil Stoch won the competition of the season with 466.6 points for his seventh title out of 24 meets this season and 22nd of his career.

Prior to his second jump, Kasai had to wait for a stable wind, thinking, “This is not going to be good.” Amid those concerns, he began his jump and in the air, felt he did not achieve enough height.

“Midway through the jump, I caught a strong gust and it sent me farther and farther from the ground,” said Kasai, whose jump exceeded his previously longest recorded by one meter.

Kasai has struggled all season, and by the new year, had only a single 10th-place finish to his credit. His confidence suffered, and he suspected there was a problem with his equipment. All of those doubts were swept away on the 225-meter flying hill, on which he is strongest.

Kasai showed his mental strength during the grueling Norway leg of the World Cup circuit, in which four individual (one was canceled) and two team competitions were scheduled at four venues and strong winds often caused delays.

“I made an effort to keep stress from building up,” he said. “The most important thing was to not become mentally fatigued."Speech

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