Maren Lundby did just what was expected of her coming into the Olympics: stand on that podium with the gold medal around her neck.
The strong winds and lashing snow didn’t stop the 23-year-old Norwegian from fulfilling her destiny, not after a very dominant showing at the World Cup. This was only the second gold for the Women’s Ski Jumping, an event that was first introduced at the Sochi Games in 2014.
Heading into the PyeongChang Olympics, there’s no woman as dominant as Lundby as he won seven of the total World Cup events this season. She scored 264.6 points on the final run after landing 110 meters at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center. The last jump was just one meter short of the record for the women’s hill.
“I knew when I landed I had won because I saw the green light go on,” she told reporters afterwards. “I didn’t look at the scoreboard but I heard the announcers say, ‘It’s gold.’”
Adding to the challenge was the strong winds and the temperature, hitting -11 degree Celsius at some point. The women ski competitors can be seen huddling with their blankets as they waited for their number to be called.
Lundby, however, said the extreme weather conditions are nothing new to the sport.
“We’ve had a lot of competitions in heavy conditions. We had a competition in Japan recently with similar conditions,” she said.
Katharina Althaus of Germany finished second (106.0 meters) while Sara Takanashi of Japan won bronze (103.5 meters). Takanashi made a good accounting of herself after falling short of a medal in Sochi despite coming in the favorite to win gold.
Lundby said that despite the blizzard, she was quite calm at the top of the hill. She said that she was very optimistic about her chances. “I felt ready, and it was really amazing to fly over the green line and take the win,” she added.