The World Cup opening in Wisła is over. We can say a lot about those six countries whose athletes were in top shape during the previous years – Poland, Germany, Austria, Japan, Slovenia and Norway. But it’s important to notice that it is not just those six countries we have to include in our summary.
It would be hard to start this text with an other team than Russia. The brightest star in Wisła was Evgeniy Klimov. The winner of the 2018 Summer Grand Prix has showed a great shape already on Friday when he was the best both in training and qualification. Klimov finished on the sixth place with the Russian team on Saturday, even though his jumps were worse than the day before. However, he showed the best performance on Sunday’s individual event. Klimov became the first Russian who has ever won a World Cup competition.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Russian jumpers didn’t perform that well. Dimitry Vassiliev isn’t the youngest anymore and his is struggling with getting in good shape. Denis Kornilov, after having some pretty good jumps in the team competition, didn’t manage to perform on the same level as the day before. The youngest athlete, Mikhail Nayharov, didn’t qualify for the individual competition.
It’s sure that Russians have a very strong Klimov but the new coach, Evgeniy Plekhov, has still a lot of work to do with the rest of the team.
The 2017/2018 season was quite a bad one for the athletes of the Czech Republic who scored only 95 points in the Nations Cup (45 p. individually and 50 p. for the 8th place in the team competition in Zakopane). The only happy moment for them took place in Bad Mitterndorf where Cestmir Kozisek finished on 13th place which was also his career best. The Austrian coach, Richard Schallert, has finished his work with the team and was replaced by David Jiroutek, who is very well-known in his country.
The beggining of 2018/2019 winter season gives hope to the Czechs. They already have 80 points in the Nations Cup and are higher classified in the overall standings than Norway, the most successfull nation of the previous season. What is more, three of their jumpers have already scored World Cup points. The one, who was definitely the most satisfied with his performance, was Viktor Polasek. The last season was quite an unlucky one for the Junior World Champion, who never managed to get into the final round. However, he starts the new season with a 12th place that is also his career best. Roman Koudelka and Lukas Hlava also qualified for the second round.
Finland’s situation is quite similar to the Czech’s. They have replaiced their Austrian coach, Andreas Mitter, with a countryman. Lauri Hakola will have a lot of work to do. Last year they got only 119 points in the Nations Cup (100 p. for the 7th place in the team competition in Titisee-Neustadt and 19 p. individually). Only two athletes of Finland were able to get into the Top30 – Antti Aalto and Eetu Nousiainen.
Let’s hope that the 2018/2019 season will be much better for them. The team competition didn’t go that well, they finished on 9th place. They had bad luck, Nousiainen fell and they got bad weather conditions while Alamommo was jumping.
However, the individual competition has brought a miracle- Antti Aalto didn’t make any bad jump in Wisła and was able to finish on the great 7th place on Sunday. The last time we could see a Finish athlete in the Top10 was in December 2015 when Lauri Asikainen was 7th in a one round contest. It seems that Aalto is in a good shape and hopefully he’ll prove it both in Ruka and the next stages of the World Cup. It’d be very nice to see if the rest of the team could keep up with him.
The solid jumps of all four athletes gave Switzerland the 5th place in the team competition. In the individual race wasn’t that successful anymore.
Simon Ammann, Gregor Deschwanden and Andreas Schuler jumped bad and has finished the WC after the first round. Only Killian Peier, who finished the SGP on 6th place, manage to show a good performance and was ranked 17th.
The polish coach, Łukasy Kruczek, has nominated two athletes for the WC i Wisła. Sebastian Colloredo didn’t qualify for the competition, but Alex Insam made it and in the end he scored 3 points.
Vladimir Zografski finished 5th in Rasnov this summer. In Wisła he showed that he’s still able to reach good places. At trainings he was 5th and 31st, and 9th in the qualification. He’s shape isn’t stable yet but we can see he’s on the good track to be back in the top.
In Sunday’s trail round he was 19th. Unfortunately he was quite unlucky in the competition and was ranked on 47th.
The American Kevin Bickner was performing in Wisła quite similarly to Zografski. Until the first round on Sunday his worst result was a 21st place, but then in the competition he was 42nd. The dreams of good results need to be postponed to Ruka. If his shape is good, he’ll finally make it, especially on Rukatunturri which is a large hill and Kevin is known to be a good flyer.
Unfortunately we’re not able to say that the only Canadian, Mackenzie Boyd Clowes, is in a good shape. The lack of points in Wisła is not that surprising, especially after a pretty dissappointing qualification result, where Mackenzie finished only on the 29th place.
The team of Kazakhstan came to Wisła with four athletes. In the team competition they finished on the 11th place. Sergey Tkachenko and Sabirzhan Muminov did not qualify for the individual competition.