1. Athlete of the season (male): Stefan Kraft. This choice was obvious. He is 2 times world champion, won overall and flying classifications. He holds world record. This season was the best in his career.
2. Athlete of the season (female): Daniela Iraschko-Stolz. She was six in overall classification, was in TOP 6 in Lahti and won silver in mixed-team competition.
3. Team of the season: Manuel Fettner, Michael Hayböck, Gregor Schlierenzauer, Stefan Kraft. This is the team that won bronze in Lahti. Almost always on podium.
4. Top newcomer/breakthrough: Markus Schiffner. Best season in his career. He was on the team when Austria won team competition in Oslo (first time since 2014). He achived his best result ever (11th place in Bischofshofen)
5. Most impressive win of the season: Stefan Kraft, overall. The fight between Kamil and Stefan was intense and emotional, but it was Stefan who won it.
6. Best competition: Lahti (all of men’s competition) and Oslo team. Lahti was just marvelous, so just pretend that it was one big cometition.
I needed to add Oslo, because it was the first time since 2013 when they won team event. It was just heartwarming.
7. Best podium: Oberstdorf (4HT). The beginning of everyone’s favourite tournament and already two Austrians on podium. Not just normal Austrians but Kraftböck. Seeing them being happy for each other was just everything. (#never forget about Krafti’s fake beer).
8. Best Jump: Stefan Kraft 253,5 meters, Vikersund. After a wonderful jump of Robert Johansson, Stefan proved that world record doesn’t have to be in Norwgians hands. This jump flight was just phenomenal.
9. Most touching moment: Stefan Kraft winning his 2 gold medals and Gregor Schlierenzauer comeback. Again it’s a tie. These two moments are just too heartwarming to not to adding them both here. Stefan is a part of history now. Winning on the both hills is something unusual. It proves that right now he’s one of the very best in this sport.
Gregor’s comeback was just so emotional, because he was part of the ‘Golden team’. After one year he decided to come back in Wisła. He worked so hard to be able to do that. I know this year wasn’t the best for him, but that was just a warm up. Be ready!
10. OTP of the season: Kraftböck. There was no other option. Simple as that.
11. Crush of the season: Manuel Fettner. I think that in this season everybody finnaly saw how handsome he is (and he can pull of the beanie). There is something misterious about him and i guess that’s why he is the crush of the season.
Sara Takanashi is the outstanding athlete in Ladies Ski Jumping. Only 20 years of age the Japanese is about accomplishing a milestone by winning her 50th World Cup competition. Takanashi already won 49 World Cup competitions. That is more than half of all ever held competitions in the FIS World Cup Ladies Ski Jumping.
fisski.com was talking with Sara Takanashi about the competitions in Sapporo and Zao and about her further goals.
Sara Takanashi, Zao is a very special place for you. You took part in your first international competition here, you won your first World Cup here. Still the last weekend did not work out for you like you might have wished. Sara Takanashi: That is true, Zao is very special. I was winning here very many times, this is where the journey began. And the people are always supporting me so much. The last weekend was hard work for me, my jumps did not go easy. But I am even happier, that I could finish the weekend with a podium.
How big is this number 50 to you? Takanashi: Of course, this number means a lot to me. It is huge. But I always knew that the most important thing is the training, the little details. I am always trying to go step by step. I don’t only want to win but I also very much care about the way I am jumping. The beauty of the jump. So the number is important. But it is not the most important thing.
Ladies Ski Jumping is very popular in Japan and so are you. People where very excited before the competitions here about this 50th win. Was this some kind of pressure for you? Takanashi: I was aware of this. And I would have loved to take this 50th win in Sapporo or Zao. It was some kind of pressure. But mainly I am glad about the attention our sport is getting here and how many people in Japan are caring about it. I want to keep going to pay something back and to be a good promoter for our sport.
You are still very young and extremely successful. Do you sometimes have trouble believing it yourself? Takanashi: I don’t really care about my age. That is only a number. I can feel I am not alone because I have so many supporters. They are giving me so much strength. This is what counts.
What do you still want to achieve? What are your goals? Takanashi: I want to be a leader of the Ladies Ski Jumping. And I don’t think I am good enough yet. I am trying to learn from older jumpers like Daniela Iraschko-Stolz. I want to become an Olympic Champion. That is still missing so I have to improve to get the skills I need.
What about the World Championships in Lahti? Are you looking forward? Takanashi: Yes, I am. I never was a World Champion, so this is another goal.
You are a role model for very many of your competitors. Did you ever have somebody you´ve been looking up to? Takanashi: I´ve always admired Sarah Hendrickson. When I went to Sapporo for the first time it was so exciting seeing her. She is a very strong person, she is always positive and it is impressive how she always came back after her injuries. This is admirable.
How are you celebrating your victories? Takanashi: I am celebrating in my heart. I am very happy about every victory. But I have to focus on what is comping up and I have to keep going.
What are you doing to relax? What can you enjoy besides ski jumping? Takanashi: I am getting to meet very many people and enjoying this very much. When the season is over I am still a student, I am studying sports.
Can you imagine becoming a coach one day? Takanashi: My studies are giving me very many options and becoming a coach is one of them. For now I am not thinking about it a lot but I am trying to focus on my sports.