The end of the Olympic champion’s dream ?! Unbelievable bad luck with Zakopane

Andreas Wellinger has had a very difficult time behind him. The German returned to the World Cup for a long time after injuries and a crisis in form, but it is difficult to imagine a more unlucky situation than the one he started and basically ended the weekend in Zakopane.

Great bad luck for Wellinger. Injury after the last jump in the canceled training

On Friday, all series of jumps on Wielka Krokiew were canceled due to too strong gusts of wind after only 47 jumpers jumped in the first official training. The last jumper who managed to give his attempt was German Andreas Wellinger. And it was after this jump, though ultimately meaningless at all in the context of the competition in Poland, that the German felt pain in his right knee.

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He was forced to withdraw from further competition during the World Cup in Zakopane. It is exactly the same knee in which he tore his cruciate ligaments in 2019 and through which he had a break in training and competitions for several months. Later he could not find a good form for a long time, and when he started to return to his good disposal and make single jumps at the top of the competition, he suffered another injury.

So far, the German association has only confirmed that Wellinger has returned to Germany to conduct research and assess whether a longer break is needed. Activists write that it is only “just in case”. Needless to say, Wellinger’s performance in Beijing is at risk in the event of a knee injury. Especially that it was the competition in Zakopane that was to be the key to the selection of the team for the Olympics from among Stefan Horngacher’s players. Later, you can still make changes to the lineups sent, but only until January 24th. It’s not a long time.

He became a champion in Pyeongchang and began a series of misfortunes. “It went on forever”

Failure to go to Beijing due to an injury would be a real drama for the German. In China, he was to defend the title of the Olympic champion won four years ago in Pyeongchang. Then he triumphed in the competition on a normal hill, held in crazy and extreme conditions, and on a large facility he became the Olympic vice-champion, losing only to Kamil Stoch. This is his greatest career success, but also the beginning of a series of misfortunes.

In June 2019, Wellinger tore his right knee cruciate ligaments, which prevented him from competing in the World Cup competition for over a year, until November 2020. However, he returned in poor shape and in the 2020/2021 season he did not score a single point in the World Cup cycle. Ba! He appeared at the “third league” competition, ie the FIS Cup in Szczyrk, and took only 45th place there. He found himself in a hole in which there was probably no previous champion so soon after winning the gold medal at the Olympics.

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– It went on forever for me. This hole was something very difficult to overcome. How did I try to get out of it? It was a mix of everything: control over your own body, in what form you try to keep it, and also contact with coaches and staff. I have talked to everyone I could to get as much feedback and advice as possible. Jumping is a very complicated sport and overcoming a crisis is one of the most difficult skills in this discipline – the jumper described us when we talked to him in Bischofshofen.

Wellinger wanted to make it harder for coaches to choose and fly to Beijing. Now he has a serious problem

– I’m going in the right direction, step by step. Very slow, but forward, continued Wellinger. He looked very pleased and added that he was looking forward to the weekend in Zakopane. Unfortunately, due to an injury, he is no longer present in Poland and it is not known whether his chances for the Beijing Olympics have just disappeared.

– There has not been such a click in my form yet. It didn’t feel like it should be anymore. I look forward to it. My goal at the moment is to jump better and better. I want to improve each of my attempts and if I record such progress every day or each subsequent week, I will do my best to have the best possible position before selecting the squad for the Olympics. The coaches will have a very difficult task – he described.

Paweł WasekAfter the jury’s decision, Doleżal ran out of the hill. He threw one sentence to the journalists on the run

The last competitor who did not defend the Olympic gold medal at the next edition of the event was the Norwegian Lars Bystoel, who became the Olympic champion on the normal hill in Turin and finished his career before the Olympics in Vancouver, where he was missing.

About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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