Freeskiing star Eileen Gu maintained her winning form in the FIS World Cup action this week as ski jumper Ryōyū Kobayashi returned to the top step of the podium at home in Japan.
Chinese star Gu produced an excellent 95 in Thursday’s Freeski halfpipe at Calgary to get the FIS World Cup action underway, with Canadian Rachael Karker second and American Hanna Faulhaber third.
In Saturday’s second event in Canada, Gu was again in a different league from her rivals to clinch her second consecutive halfpipe victory in as many outings since her competitive return. She stomped three runs with scores in the 90s while nobody else could manage even one, beating Canada’s Rachael Karker again and China’s Kexin Zhang to the podium’s top step.
The 19-year-old said: “It’s been 11 and a half months since I’ve competed and coming out of the Olympics; obviously, it’s difficult to follow that up pressure-wise, but I think it’s been so much fun. I’ve been rediscovering all this love that I have for the sport. I love it more now than ever.”
On Sunday, Japanese ski jumping star Ryoyu Kobayashi earned his second win of the season after a big return to form at his home round in Sapporo.
Kobayashi took his first season win on Friday, easily beating Poland’s Dawid Kubacki and Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud third, and followed that with a third in Saturday’s competition. – Last year’s overall World Cup winner was back on top in Sunday’s third and final contest, soaring 143 metres on his second jump to take the win over Halvor Egner Granerud and Germany’s Markus Eisenbichler.
With his success this weekend, Kobayashi jumped up from 21st to fourth in the overall World Cup standings.
The Olympic champion, 26, said: “I’m overjoyed about this weekend here in Sapporo. My jumps are getting better and better and of course, I had the necessary luck here.”
Meanwhile, in Klingenthal, Germany, Johannes Lampater scored a double win in the latest Nordic Combined World Cup round to maintain his second place in the overall standings.
Italian Sonia Goggia recorded her fourth downhill victory of the season on home snow in Cortina d’Ampezzo on Friday thanks to a blistering time of 1:33.47 that was enough to see off Slovenian Ilka Stuhec by 0.13s with German Kira Weidle third and Kiwi Alice Robinson 2.59s behind.
The victory extended Goggia’s downhill title lead over Stuhec to 208 points, while the 100 points for victory elevated her up into fifth position behind American Mikaela Shiffrin in the overall standings.
The iconic Hahnenkamm men’s downhill race over in Kitzbühel saw Aleksander Aamodt Kilde take victory in Saturday’s race, while overall World Cup leader Marco Odermatt missed the race after suffering a knee injury during Friday’s race.
Vincent Kriechmayr delivered a home Austrian win in Friday’s race as Dominik Paris returned to form with a top-five finish, and German Thomas Dressen also recovered form to finish 13th.
Odermatt’s DNS dropped him down to third in the FIS World Cup downhill standings behind Kilde and Kriechmayr, but his overall lead is still 225 points over Kilde.
Header image: Eileen Gu poses for a portrait. Credit: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool