Simon Ammann of Switzerland has won the first event of the annual Four Hills Tour. The defending Olympic ski-jumping champion is seeking his first overall Four Hills title. It was a disappointing day for the home fans.
Ammann, who won gold at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 as well as the 2002 Salt Lake Games, built on a massive first jump of 139 meters in Oberstdorf in southern Germany on Sunday, fighting off a challenge from Norway's Anders Bardal to take the first of the four events.
The 32-year-old won the event with 301.9 points, compared to 297.9 for Bardal, who came in second. Austria's Thomas Deithard and Peter Prevc of Slovenia tied for third place with 297.9 points each.
"I never experienced a day like this, only at Olympics or world championships. I was very excited... I have always loved this competition," Amman told reporters after his second career win at Oberstdorf.
Ammann, though, has never won the overall Four Hills Tour, his best finishes coming as runner-up in both 2008-09 and 2010-11.
Disappointment for the Germans
It was a disappointing day for the Germans, with Marinus Kraus' eight-place finish the best result for the home team.
Going into the event, Severin Freund had been regarded as the Germans' best hope, but he only managed 10th place.
"With the conditions as they were, the first jump was not easy," Freund said afterwards. "There was something missing on the second jump."
Last year's Four Hills winner, Gregor Schierenzauer of Austria didn't have a good day at the office either, as he came in a disappointing ninth.
The Four Hills Tour continues with the second leg in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on January 1, before the third and fourth events at Innsbruck and Bischofshofen.
pfd/lw (AFP, dpa, AP)