Figure Skating World Championships: Widholzl counts on Kraft as his trump card

Almost exactly five years ago, Kraft descended 253.5 meters and thus set the world record that is still in force. But it’s not just that record that’s why one doesn’t have to “discuss much” about strength, according to coach Andreas Widholzel. Because the guy from Salzburg has also been in strong shape lately.

“He’s been jumping really well lately, winning Raw Air,” Widholzl was quoted at the APA as referring to his student’s recent success. Otherwise he just wants to get an idea right away, said the ÖSV coach. Snowboarding is something new, at least this season: “Everyone has their strengths in certain areas.”

Reuters

In the past few weeks, Kraft has regained the ease needed to succeed

Germany’s Karl Geiger will participate in the 27th edition of the World Figure Skating Championships and the 5th edition in Vickersund as the individual defending champion. Geiger won the last World Cup in December 2020 in Planica, ahead of Norway’s Halvor Aigner Granrod and his compatriot Markus Eisenbechler. The team title went to Norway, ahead of Germany and Poland. For the weak Austria team, that was only enough for sixth place.

Choose from various candidates

Speaking of strengths in certain areas: Flying on the snow itself is certainly one of Michael Hybock’s strengths. Upper Austria, who returned this season after a disc operation, is part of the Red, White and Red team. At the last World Cup in December 2020 in Planica, he finished fourth in coronavirus quarantine.

For the figure skating competitions at the World Cups in Oberstdorf and Planica, which conclude the season, Hayböck occupies a fixed place, having earned it with the Continental Cup. At least once in Vikersund Ulrich Wohlnamen there. “I have a ‘Jolly Joker’ with him in the back who can fly really well,” Weidholzl said. “Otherwise, Daniel Huber, Manuel Wittner and Jan Hurl are still vying for the other three places in the World Four Piece Singles Championship on Friday and Saturday, as well as the teams competition (Sunday). All jumps can be watched live on ORF1 from 4.30pm.

Anyway, it was basically tough for the active players who didn’t get a chance yet on Thursday. Widholzl: “If all went normally, they (in Vickersund, note) wouldn’t be able to fly very much.” But there will be conclusions for the next two weeks, as three-time junior world champion Daniel Chauvenig and three-time world junior champion Aigner are also favorites and should be prepared in the best possible way. “We are still fighting for the Nations Cup, which counts for every point. They are close to each other,” the coach said.

Long list of nominees for medals

But this week it’s about the world championship medals clearly. “Since the Tour didn’t go so well as our first important event, we would like to do well there,” says Wiedholzl. Anyway, the list of candidates for the stock list is long. “It will definitely be a big fight for medals,” said the 45-year-old. Anyway, his family’s home position is better than it was 15 months ago in Planica. “We just got out of quarantine and a lot of people pulled out.” Kraft also had to skip the title fights at Planica due to back issues.

Widholzl believes that a new world record is entirely possible: “We will definitely see long jumps of about 250 metres, anything is possible.” Of course, whether it will surpass the Kraft mark also depends on the circumstances. There is usually more windiness in the morning and midday than competition times in the afternoon. “You need good winds out there to carry it. You need athletes who don’t have the trajectory too high to be able to withstand it.”

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