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Germany's Freund in incredible 19th World Cup ski jumping victory

Severin Freund has scored another ski jumping World Cup victory in Lillehammer, Norway. The German expressed surprise at his victory after having to wait two hours in bad weather for his run, nearly losing his nerve.

Germany's Severin Freund, showing nerves of steel and a great deal of patience, clinched an astounding 19th World Cup victory in ski jumping on Saturday in Lillehammer. The 27-year-old Bavarian managed a distance of 94.5 meters (310 feet), giving him a 0.1 point advantage over second-place finalist Kenneth Gangnes of Norway.

"I was surprised to reach number one," Freund said, "because some of my competitors jumped farther. But today ski jumping proved to be a good example of arithmetic."

Winning a ski jumping competition is not only a matter of distance - contestants are judged on a number of factors, including style, inrun length, and wind conditions. Indeed, second place Kenneth Gangnes achieved a distance of 95.5 meters and third place Andreas Stjernen, also of Norway, managed to make a 96 meter jump.

Freund's trainer was a bit more enthusiastic than the humble gold medalist, saying, "this is of course a terrific win. Severin fought unbelievably in the air."

Due to inclement weather, the ski jumping competition for the normal hill event (as opposed to large hill or ski flying hill, which can cover longer distances) had to be postponed two hours and ten minutes, allowing the skiers to steep in their jitters, as Freund told reporters.

"The waiting around was annoying. But there's nothing you can do about it," said Freund, adding that "for athletes, it's a crazy challenge to hold on to the energy for that long."

es/jlw (dpa, SID)

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