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Austrians dominate FIS Grand Prix Jumping event

Austrians dominate FIS Grand Prix Jumping event{mosimage}EINSIEDELN, Switzerland — The third and fourth competitions in the FIS Grand Prix summer jumping series were won by Olympic silver medalist Andreas Kofler of Austria and his teammate, reigning junior world champion Gregor Schlierenzauer.

Kofler won in difficult jumping conditions Saturday in Einsiedeln, while Schlierenzauer grabbed his first-ever victory in Courchevel, France, on Monday.

Kofler also won the first edition of the Four Nations Grand Prix, which included Hinterzarten, Germany; Predazzo, Italy, Einsiedeln and Courchevel.

Thanks to his success in France, the 16-year-old Schlierenzauer rose to the third place in the Four Nations Grand Prix final standings, narrowly behind Adam Malysz of Poland. The current strength of Austria is also evident in the tournament rankings: after four competitions, there are five Austrians in the top eight.

The FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping will continue in Zakopane, Poland, on Aug. 26 where the third and last competition in the FIS Youth Cup also will be staged. As in Hinterzarten, the Einsiedeln Grand Prix was preceded by a FIS Youth Cup in which 34 12- to 14-year-old juniors representing seven nations competed on the 70-meter hill.

In Otepää, Estonia, the 2006 Saku Suverull roller skiing and running duathlon turned into a one-woman show by home favorite Kristina Smigun, now a nine-time winner of this training season fitness test. On the men’s side, 2004 winner Anders Södergren of Sweden triumphed in a tight race in which the top seven men finished within 9.9 seconds.

More than 4,000 spectators gathered to cheer the impressive field of World Cup skiers, including several Torino medal winners.

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