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[ODDS and EVENS] Ryoyu Kobayashi Enjoys a Successful Start to the New Year

Veteran ski jumper Ryoyu Kobayashi won the Four Hills Tournament for the third time, becoming the sixth man to achieve the feat in the event's 72-year history.



Ryoyu Kobayashi
Ryoyu Kobayashi competes in the final round of the Four Hills Tournament in Bischofshofen, Austria, on January 6, 2024. (GETTY IMAGES/via KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ODDS and EVENS] Ryoyu Kobayashi Enjoys a Successful Start to the New Year

For Ryoyu Kobayashi, the year got off to a flying start ― literally.

The Japanese ski jumper triumphed in the Four Hills Tournament, which was held at a quartet of locations in Germany and Austria and wrapped up on January 6. 

Kobyashi collected his third title in this major competition after previously winning it in 2019 and 2022. It was an achievement that highlights his standing as one of the sport's elite talents. 

The Four Hills Tournament has been held annually since 1953, and only six men have won it three or more times: Janne Ahonen (five titles), Jens Weissflog (four), Kamil Stoch, Bjorn Wirkola, Helmut Recknagel and Kobayashi (three apiece).

In 1998, two-time Olympic gold medalist Kazuyoshi Funaki became the first Japanese to win the Four Hills Tournament.

Kobayashi, the Olympic normal hill gold medalist at the 2022 Beijing Games, finished in second place in each of the four events that combine to make up the end-of-year/new year spectacle of flying winter sportsmen. All four rounds are also contested as individual FIS Ski Jumping World Cup events.


On December 29, Kobayashi started off with a 306.3-point effort in Oberstdorf, Germany, trailing only Andreas Wellinger (309.3), who represented the host nation.

Then, on New Year's Day, Kobayashi amassed 292.6 points to finish second to Slovenia's Anze Lanisek (295.8) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Ryoyu Kobayashi
Ryoyu Kobayashi celebrates with the trophy after winning the Four Hills Tournament on January 6. (Kai Pfaffenbach/REUTERS)

Success Continues in Austria

The tournament shifted to Austria for the last two rounds, with the 27-year-old Kobayashi producing consistently strong jumps in qualifying and competition.

In Innsbruck, Kobayashi chalked up 258.7 points. Austria's Jan Hoerl triumphed with 267.5 points on January 3.

Windy conditions posed challenges for Kobayashi and the other participants.

"Today was tough but it was the same situation for everyone. I had two good jumps," Kobayashi said, according to The Associated Press. "The overall lead changes nothing."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven


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