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Best ski jumping (and mustache) moments from PyeongChang

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The one ski jumping image you’ll probably remember from the PyeongChang Games is Robert Johansson’s stellar mustache. And rightfully so, but there was also some terrific, nail-biting action. History was made and medals were won. Take a look back at the best ski jumping moments from the 2018 Winter Games.

Don’t count out the ‘stache
You’ll remember Johansson’s mustache but will you remember his ski jumping?

Turns out he’s pretty good on the hills, too. Johansson won three medals in PyeongChang. He and Germany’s Andreas Wellinger became just the seventh and eighth athletes to ever medal in all three ski jumping events. After taking the bronze in the normal and large hill events, Johansson finally claimed the gold, leading Norway to the team large hill top spot.

Japan’s Noriaki Kasai makes Olympic history
Kasai earned 117.7 points for his jump in the normal hill qualifiers. Seems pretty uneventful but with tthat jump, Kasai officially made his record eighth Winter Olympics appearance.

King Kamil repeats
Poland’s Kamil Stoch, after finishing fourth in the normal hill, defended his large hill crown with an impressive final jump to edge out Wellinger.

Click here to see all the best from this year’s Olympic ski jumping

 

Casey Larson goes down in the history books in PyeongChang

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Ski jumper Casey Larson is competing in his first Olympic Games but he is already collecting accolades. The U.S. athlete has been named the 100,000th man to compete in the Olympics in the 122-year history of the modern games.

The teenager found out about his title just hours before competing in his first run, the qualifying round for the normal hill event. What could have been seen as added pressure turned out to be interesting information for the 19-year-old.

NBCOlymipcs.com: All 4 U.S. men advance in normal hill qualifiers

“I was told just before the press conference this morning,” Larson said after progressing to Saturday’s final round. “It is pretty cool, I can add that to my Olympic checklist. I hope I can get some publicity about it. For my goals here, it is to make my best jump.”

Learning his unique status as the 100,000th man wouldn’t be possible without Olympic historian Bill Mallon, a renowned chronicler of the Olympics. He conducted an in-depth research process, across both Summer and Winter Games, to figure out when the milestone would be reached in competition.

He calculated that going into the PyeongChang Games, 99,983 men had competed since the first Olympiad in Athens. That meant the 17th man to compete in this year’s Games would earn the title and make history.

After six new Olympians competed in mixed doubles curling on Thursday morning, Larson was scheduled to start as number 16, but the 11th new Olympian, in his event was destined to set the milestone.

NBCOlympics.com: Noriaki Kasai sets record with eighth winter Olympics appearance

Larson wants to use the occasion to propel him to new heights.

“Just to get to the Olympics is awesome enough, but to be told you’ll be the 100,000th is really cool. I’m going to enjoy it any way I can, hopefully by producing my best jump ever.”

Flying through the air for 100 meters is a hard enough task, so the teenager wants to make sure the momentous occasion doesn’t distract him before his jump.

“I worked super hard to get to the Olympics, but I can’t afford to think about it when I’m standing up there, ready to jump.”

Larson is one of four U.S. ski jumpers competing in PyeongChang. The 19-year-old finished 46th overall in the qualifying round. He will compete alongside countrymen Mike Glasder, Will Rhoads, and Kevin Bickner in the finals on Saturday. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, Larson is keeping it all in perspective.

“And when I was told about the 100k thing, I thought, ‘Not bad at 19’. That’s really wild.”

Noriaki Kasai sets record with 8th Winter Olympics appearance

Kasai
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By competing at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Noriaki Kasai set a record for most appearances by an athlete at the Winter Olympics. The Japanese ski jumper participated in eight straight Olympics, beginning in 1992 and stretching to 2018.

Just for the sake of comparison, the top ski jumper in the world in 2017 – Austria’s Stefan Kraft – was born in 1993, a year after Kasai’s Olympic debut.

Kasai’s performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympics was record-setting in its own right. Not only did he set the record – tying with Russian luger Albert Demchenko – for seven Winter Olympic appearances, but he set several other records as well.

NBCOlympics.com: Who is Noriaki Kasai?

Kasai became ski jumping’s oldest individual medalist in Sochi when he won a silver medal on the large hill. He was 41 years, 254 days old. He also became the oldest medalist in ski jumping when he earned a bronze medal in the team event two days later, at 41 years, 256 days old. Additionally, by winning medals in Sochi, he tied the record for longest gap between winning medals: 20 years between Lillehammer in 1994 and Sochi 2014.

Kasai was born in Sapporo, Japan, a few months after the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972. He has said he expects to ski jump at the 2022 Olympics (his ninth Games), when he will be approaching 50.

More surprising still is that he hasn’t ruled out the 2026 Games, especially if Sapporo chooses to bid for hosting rights. Kasai would be 53.

NBCOlympics.com: All 4 U.S. men advance in normal hill qualifiers

As the owner of silver and bronze medals, he says his lack of a gold medal is what still drives him. If he accomplishes those goals in PyeongChang, he may reel back his claims of continuing in the sport.

Canadian equestrian competitior Ian Millar holds the overall record, competing in 10 Olympics. He competed at the Games in 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. Canada boycotted the 1980 Olympics. His only medal, a silver, came at the 2012 London Olympics.

Kasai placed 20th in the men’s individual normal hill qualification round Thursday to advance to Saturday’s first round.