Japan’s Sara Takanashi is full steam ahead to Sochi after picking up her 10th FIS World Cup ski jumping win of the season and her second of the weekend today in Hinzenbach, Austria.
Takanashi’s jumps of 88.5 and 92.5 meters for a score of 245.2 points enabled her to beat out Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz for the second straight day. The local competitor had two jumps of 89 meters each and scored 238.4 points.
Also for the second straight day, the third-place finisher earned her inaugural World Cup podium with Finland’s Julia Kykkaenen putting up a total of 234.8 after jumps of 86.5 and 88.5 meters.
Takanashi now shifts focus to Sochi, where she’ll look to defeat Team USA’s Sarah Hendrickson and the rest of the field to claim the first-ever Olympic gold in women’s ski jumping.
Japan claimed five medals in Vancouver four years ago but went without gold, and figure skater Shizuka Arakawa has remained the most recent Japanese Winter Olympic champion following her win at Torino in 2006 (the lone Japanese medal overall in those Olympics).
It’s a lot of pressure to deal with, but Takanashi seems to thrive on that.
“I don’t think I can feel more pleasure than the moment when I manage to do my best jump while feeling pressure,” she said in a feature for the official Olympics website.
But win or lose, Takanashi will be in position to claim the World Cup overall championship when the series returns to action post-Sochi on March 1 and 2 in Rasnov, Romania.