Eva Pinkelnig dominates the “New Year’s Eve Tournament”, after two sovereign victories in Villach the 34-year-old from Vorarlberg takes course towards the overall victory and winning the Golden Owl. “It’s just incredible!”
Villach. Whoever jumps far away from his competitors, leads superiorly after two victories in a row at the half-time of an important tournament series, has an easy smile. However, ski jumper Eva Pinkelnig also radiated such joy and confidence after the double victory in Villach that there is hardly any doubt about further victories.
Two jumps of 94.5 meters each secured the Vorarlberg native, 34, her sixth World Cup victory. The athlete from Hard is thus also on course to win the Golden Owl for the first time, which awaits the winner of the New Year’s Eve Tournament.
The decision will be made after competitions on New Year’s Eve (4 p.m.) on New Year’s Day (4:30 p.m., each live, ORF1) in Ljubno, Slovenia.
Pinkelnig has been a ski jumper since she was 24. That’s when the recreational teacher, who makes her decisions solely on the basis of her feelings, was gripped by ski jumping fever. If she was once still considered a “crash pilot” – two serious falls with subsequent emergency surgery due to a ruptured spleen or memories of the consequences of a craniocerebral trauma (gaps in memory and concentration; “the doctors said at the time that there were signs of Alzheimer’s”) bear witness to this – Pinkelnig has seemingly finally found herself as a ski jumper this season.
The timing is favorable: she already won World Cup silver in the team and mixed in 2019 – and now the Nordic World Championships in Planica are approaching.
A new challenge
Who knows, maybe the Vorarlberg star will rise there? If she continues to jump in such impressive form, anything is possible for the athlete coached by Harald Rodlauer.
The 34-year-old from Vorarlberg won on Thursday with 260.2 points ahead of Germany’s Katharina Althaus (-5.6) and Slovenia’s Nika Križnar (-9.1), extending her lead in the overall World Cup standings to 87 points. She has a 23.5-point lead in the Tour standings. “This is incredible. It was a new day, a new challenge, I was well adjusted again and I finished it perfectly,” chortled Pinkelnig, who couldn’t wait to hear the anthem again. “Yeah, I’m really enjoying every moment there.”
She fulfilled her childhood dream of flying 100 meters long ago. She is said to be fun-loving and sociable, and she categorically rejects standing still – there always has to be “a little bit” more. Victories like the one in Villach also whet her appetite for more. Because with this, she has finally flown away from all self-doubt and the heckling of notorious critics. “Capital pretzels” are a thing of the past.