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Defending champ Ryoyu Kobayashi places fourth in Four Hills Tournament

Kyodo

Ryoyu Kobayashi fell short in the defense of his Four Hills Tournament title after finishing fourth overall in the famous weeklong ski jumping competition.

Kobayashi landed jumps of 135.5 and 138.0 meters in the final large-hill event in Bischofshofen on Monday to earn an overall score of 1,096.0, 35.6 points behind the winner, Poland’s Dawid Kubacki.

“The wind was tricky on the first jump. The second was better than the first,” Kobayashi said. “The level (of competition at Four Hills) is high, as expected. Anyone can win.”

Kubacki blew away the competition with final-day jumps of 143.0 and 140.5 and finished atop with 1,131.6 points. The reigning world champion picked up his first win of the season and won his first Four Hills title after landing on the podium in all four events.

Norway’s Marius Lindvik took second and Germany’s Karl Geiger placed third. Daiki Ito finished ninth overall, while Yukiya Sato was 19th.

After winning the opening event in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Dec. 29, Kobayashi placed fourth in the next round held on New Year’s Day in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

His hopes of a second straight title took a hit following a 14th-place finish in the Austrian city of Innsbruck on Saturday, leaving him fourth overall and trailing Kubacki by 13.7 points.

Kobayashi won all four stages of the Four Hills Tournament last year and became just the third man in history to pull off a clean sweep. He claimed 13 wins in his breakout season and captured the overall World Cup title.

“Looking back, I realize it wasn’t so easy,” he said.

The 23-year-old remains in the lead in the overall World Cup standings with 644 points, followed by Geiger with 619 and Austria’s Stefan Kraft with 539.

Over 68 editions of the Four Hills Tournament, only nine athletes have successfully defended their title.

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