Peter Prevc and Robert Kranjec wrapped up a dream season for Slovenian ski jumping on Sunday, taking first and second place in the second double Slovenian win of the World Cup finale on the giant hill in Planica.
Prevc, who had secured the overall World Cup win prior to Planica, cemented his place in the history books with the record 15th individual victory of the season and 22nd podium finish. The 23-year-old jumped 238 and 241.5 metres, beating Kranjec, who flew 234 and 233 metres, by 15 points. Johann Andre Forfang of Norway came in third. Adding to his Friday win, Kranjec proved that at 35 he remains one of the pre-eminent ski-flying specialists. In the World Cup standings Prevc beat runner-up Severin Freund of Germany by over 800 points with 2,303 points won in the season, another all-time record.
His win wraps up a season that sports commentators are already describing as one-of-a-kind. The star jumper was quick to point out today that such an extraordinary season is unlikely to become the norm. “A lot happened this year, I was strong, performed well throughout. I have warn that it will be difficult to repeat such a season,” he said.
Prevc not only won the overall rankings and broke the individual records, he also won the prestigious Four Hills Tournament and the separate ski-flying rankings, where Kranjec finished second. The 2015/2016 season also established Slovenia as a ski jumping superpower, as Prevc pulled the entire team ahead. In the Cup of Nations Slovenia came in second for the first time in history, ceding only to Norway, the birthplace of ski jumping. “We took everything we could,” head coach Goran Janus told reporters today.
The team is also very cohesive, with key members close friends. This was evident throughout the four days of competition in Planica, as the team members cheered each other on. The apex came today when Kranjec ran to Prevc after the final jump, took him down and started pouring champagne on him all while holding a custom-made eagle’s head, a reference to the team being popularly known as the Slovenian Eagles. “This was all Robi’s work. He comes up with these things. He’s great,” Prevc said about his friend and rival. “First Robi tackled me to the ground, then they sprayed me [with champagne], when we sang the anthem without musical accompaniment. I don’t know how many athletes have experienced that.”
Prevc’s dream season was also reflected in attendance, as about 100,000 people came to Planica for the four days of competition, of which 33,000 came today. Planica, the symbolic centre of Slovenian ski jumping, was a curse for Prevc last year, with a weak final jump costing him the overall World Cup win. This year, he had secured the win prior to Planica but he still feels Planica is a special place. “Last year it was raining, this year the weather held up. What symbolism. It has paid off to wait and work,” Prevc said.