Norway Takes Lead In Ski Jumping

Norway Takes Lead In Ski Jumping{mosimage}OBERSTDORF, Germany (AP) – With outstanding jumps by Petter Tande, Magnus Moan and Havard Klemetsen, Norway took the lead after the ski jumping portion of the team Nordic combined event Wednesday at the Nordic Skiing World Championships.

The Norwegians produced several of the day’s best jumps on the large hill, including a stunning 136.5-meter leap by Tande and a 131-meter effort from Klemetsen. Norway led with 999.5 points after the morning session.

Led by Michael Gruber, who delivered jumps of 130.5 and 133.0 meters, defending champion Austria was second with 981 points. That converts to a 19-second deficit heading into the afternoon’s 20-kilometer cross country relay segment.

The United States was third after a strong team performance, highlighted by Bill Demong’s 129-meter jump. The Americans had a total of 963.5 points and a 36-second deficit.

Finland was fourth with 938.5 points _ 1:01 seconds back _ after strong jumps by Jaakko Tallus and World Cup leader Hannu Manninen, who made up slightly for his disappointing ninth-place finish in the individual event.

Finland’s chances took a hit when Anssi Koivuranta was forced to pull out with a fever. He was replaced by Antti Kuisma, who jumped only 108.0 on his first attempt and 121.5 on his second.

Germany, the pre-race favorite, was fifth despite a team that includes Ronny Ackermann and Bjoern Kircheisen, who won gold and silver, respectively, in Friday’s individual event. Like the Swiss, the Germans entered the relay with a 1:26.00 deficit.

The day’s longest jump belonged to Russia’s Sergej Maslennikov, who soared 137 meters, after a strong initial effort of 128. The rest of the team was unable to match his performance, and the Russians were last out of 10 countries with 2:08 to make up.



Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press


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