Sara Takanashi passed Finnish legend Janne Ahonen to take possession of the record for most World Cup ski jumping podiums when she finished second in a normal hill event in Russia on Friday.

Takanashi, 24, put together two jumps of 94.5 meters for 234.8 points in Chaikovsky to place behind Austria’s Marita Kramer, who scored 258.1 points.

The Japanese jumper’s 109th top-three finish moved her past Ahonen, who competed at his last World Cup event in March 2018.

“The men’s and women’s competitions are different but it (the record) gives me motivation,” said Takanashi, who lifted her skis in joy as she stepped up to the podium. “I can get that confidence.

“I was struggling to adjust to the hill, even during the trial round. (But) I could get things in place right on time for the event.”

The second-place finish in the second of the three “Blue Bird” events in Russia moved her to the top of the overall World Cup rankings with just one event remaining.

She has reached the podium in nine of the 12 events held in the 2020-2021 season and sits 15 points clear of Slovenia’s Nika Kriznar, who finished third on Friday.

Kramer is third in the overall standings, 66 points behind, and is almost certainly out of contention, leaving the title battle between Takanashi and Kriznar.

“It’s the final event so hopefully I can enjoy the jump,” Takanashi said.

Takanashi has been competing in World Cups since the series was launched in 2011 when she was 15. She has competed in 157 events so far, meaning she has placed in the top three in nearly 70% of them.

The 2013-2014 season saw Takanashi reach the podium in all 18 World Cup events, while the Japanese jumper also secured a medal in 16 of 17 events in the 2015-2016 campaign.

Maren Lundby of Norway, the three-time reigning overall World Cup champion, has reached the podium in 62 of 148 events.

Nozomi Maruyama finished in a personal-best fourth with 222.9 points after jumps of 94.0 and 90.5 meters on Friday.

In men’s ski jumping, Ryoyu Kobayashi was second in the men’s World Cup event in Planica, Slovenia, and missed out on a third straight win.

Kobayashi leaped 231.0 meters to score 227.7 points but fell short of Karl Geiger of Germany, who landed at 232.0 meters to score 237.3. The event concluded after one attempt each due to strong winds.

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