LJUBNO, SLOVENIA – Sara Takanashi, who shares the all-time record for most individual ski jumping World Cup victories, finished fourth Sunday in her 100th career event on the global tour.
In the final women’s World Cup meet before the Pyeongchang Olympics, Takanashi was unable to pick up her 54th career win to take her past Austrian co-record holder Gregor Schlierenzauer, or snap a 10-meet winless streak. But she remained upbeat about her chance for gold in what will be her second Olympics.
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria jumped to gold with 262.4 points behind leaps of 89 and 89.5 meters. The Sochi Olympics silver medalist was making her comeback from a knee injury.
Maren Lundby of Norway was second with 260.6 points and Katharina Althaus of Germany took third with 259.3 points.
Takanashi surpassed the K-point in both rounds where she recorded leaps of 87 and 88.5 meters and also earned the highest style points from the five judges in either round. She finished with a total of 256.6 points.
Despite ending off the podium in the final pre-Olympic tune-up, the 21-year-old medal hope said she was pleased to find herself among the top-four on the 94-meter hill.
“I wasn’t able to get up on the podium but the gap in score wasn’t so big. I was able to do what I had to in a close contest with the world’s top jumpers. It was a motivational boost,” said Takanashi, who also finished one place off the podium at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“It was good practice before the Pyeongchang Games. It was a worthwhile experience,” she said.
Of the other Japanese jumpers, Yuki Ito placed seventh, Kaori Iwabuchi was 15th and Yuka Seto was 23rd.
The next women’s World Cup event will be held in March, after the Feb. 9-25 Olympics in South Korea.
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