Everyone of you who has ever heard of the 4 hills tournament in Ski Jumping, knows about the start in Oberstdorf/Allgäu (Germany).
Bad thing when you plan to go there: you will have only a short Christmas.
When we all arrived on Thursday December 28th, it was snowing like hell and everything was very chaotic on all the streets around Oberstdorf. After I needed two hours longer than planned to arrive at my hotel, my first way was to the ‘Oberstdorf Haus’ to get my accreditation, some press information and to take part at the opening press conference with Richard Freitag (GER), Andreas Welliger (GER) and Daniel-André Tande (NOR).
The whole area ‘Audi Arena Oberstdorf’ is super nice, everything was well prepared and organized and especially because of our well-in-shape Germans the arena was totally sold out for the competition day with 25’500 spectators. Being there with so many people working and cheering for our German athletes was simply amazing. Unfortunately only the weather wasn’t our friend with some rain on the competition day.
Anyway, after the good start of Richard Freitag with his second place I was very optimistic for the further competitions and decided to book also an accommodation for the last station in Bischofshofen…good start for the German team in Oberstdorf.
In the morning on Sunday December 31st I travelled from Oberstdorf to the second competition place – Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), together with two very kind Norwegians. Always nice to have so nice company around – Marit og Svein! 🙂
As well as in Oberstdorf we started with a sunny qualfication day, followed by a cloudy competition day…that was really a bit depressing for all of us photographers. Great photos first and on the day where it actually counts to get good shots, it’s all grey and difficult light. But well, at least it didn’t rain there like it did in Oberstdorf before.
But in the end me personally managed to get much better photos than in Oberstdorf. And as you can see, with once again good jumps of the DSV eagles plus 21’000 spectators the atmosphere was amazing there too…
Same duel as in Oberstdorf, same winner, same second placed…the fight went on and again, Kamil made it to beat Richard. Half-time, nothing was decided yet.
After the press conference I directly left Garmisch-Partenkirchen and made my way to my accommodation near Innsbruck (Austria).
Busy with photos, I was quite happy that this 2nd January was one day off for all of us to calm a bit down. So I spent half the day working, the other half being a tourist in Innsbruck with my friends. I have been in Innsbruck so many times before, but mostly for driving through it to another place, never really for visiting the city. So it was the first time I really spent some time directly in the city.
This place above, directly at the river ‘Inn’ is pretty nice…but probably even nicer with sunny weather. With no clouds you would have had a perfect view to the mountains around and generally everything would have looked a bit more friendly. Anyway I was surprised positively, so I can recommend to visit Innsbruck, a nice city!
Qualification day in Innsbruck. The last time during the 66th Four Hills Tournament that we saw that happy face of Richard Freitag…
…next day, competition day: overall it was rather a bad day. Our best man fell in the first round and was out for the fight for the big title. Disappointment, sadness, anger.
Me myself didn’t see his fall (luckily) as I was at the take-off during this time, so I just hoped he is okay to be able to end the tournament at least…but well, that hope didn’t work out. So I was quite angry when I saw the fall later and realized that it wasn’t really his own mistake.
In addition to that it was raining (or mix of snow/rain) like hell the whole day, so it was really no fun for everyone who was there. In the final round I almost didn’t take any photos until the ceremony as taking photos was not possible anymore, at least not for me. Everything was so wet, I was totally wet…after some hours in rain, it also doesn’t matter which jacket you wear, it’s all shit. So I actually only wanted to finally leave and get into a warm and dry room.
With the 2nd place of Andreas Welliger there was at least one good thing in the end of that day. But to be honest it was the only good thing on that day.
In the morning on January 5th I got on my way to Bischofshofen (Austria), the final station. After a very ugly night because of some health problems, I was quite happy to finally arrive in B’hofen.
After only two hours relaxing I was on my way to the hill again to check the press center and photo areas. The next big problem was ahead: photo briefing with our press chief Ingo Jensen was done and I wanted to go out, but, my camera didn’t work anymore.
Conclusion of the qualification day: I was almost crying because I couldn’t take any photos and watched the training only in mixed zone and in the end I also didn’t manage to watch the qualification live outside because I felt very bad and forced had to stay in the press center.
The only thing I could do after that day was sleeping, for 13 hours until next morning. When I woke up I already felt better, but I wasn’t sure what to do…not being fit and with a not working camera for me things didn’t make much sense. So, eventually, I decided to skip the big final and drive home. Hard decision, but it was the most reasonable one.
Back home after a long trip with some traffic jams, I had to watch the big final in tv then. Tough end of the 4 hills tournament for myself, but that’s life.
Anyway I’m happy and thankful that I was a part of the 66th 4 hills. New places, new experiences and new kind people I met during this time. It’s always fun and a pleasure to work with so many amazing people, athletes and colleagues in our #SkiJumpingFamily!
to come to an end now, I present a legend and the polish King of wintersports…
Huge Congratulations to Kamil for being the 2nd Four Hills Tournament winner with 4 victories after Sven Hannawald! Such a great and sympathetic sportsman from Poland. Impressive performance, well deserved.
PHOTO GALLERY: 4hills.