Olympics: Japan 4th as disqualifications mar ski jumping mixed event

Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi (center L) puts his arm around teammmate Sara Takanashi's shoulder after the ski jumping mixed team event at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Feb. 7, 2022, at the National Ski Jumping Centre in Zhangjiakou, China. (Kyodo)(SELECTION)

Japan missed a medal as a spate of disqualifications spoiled the ski jumping mixed team event on its Olympic debut at the Beijing Games on Monday.

Slovenia won gold and was joined by silver medalists the Russian Olympic Committee and bronze-winning Canada on the podium. Japan finished fourth at Zhangjiakou National Ski Jumping Centre.

Japan scraped into the eight-nation final despite Sara Takanashi, fourth in the women’s individual event on Saturday, seeing her huge 103-meter first-round jump scratched for a suit violation.

She was not alone, however, as Austria, which came sixth, and Germany, which finished ninth and missed the final round, both had jumpers disqualified for the same infringement related to the size of their clothing, leaving eighth-placed Japan to go through.

Japan then mounted an unlikely medal challenge with Takanashi, who was in tears after she was informed of the disqualification, steadying herself to fly 98.5 meters and receive 118.9 points.

Yukiya Sato’s 122.7 and Yuki Ito’s 97.3 points set the stage for men’s individual normal hill gold medalist Ryoyu Kobayashi, who flew 106 meters for 137.5 points to put Canada’s third place in jeopardy.

But the final Canadian jumper, Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes, went 101.5 meters for 128.1 points, taking his nation’s total tally 844.6 and clear of Japan’s 836.3.

Norway, second after the first round, finished eighth after two of its jump scores were invalidated.

“It turned out to be a tumultuous but very good event,” Kobayashi said.

“I feel I could have gone a bit further (with the final jump). I opted to get a telemark in and maybe I should have hung in there a bit more.”

“But it was positive to finish the normal hill events with a good jump. Everyone was outstanding, Sara had a very good jump with her second and I gave her a long hug.”

Kobayashi then turned his mind toward the large hill event starting Friday with the men’s individual sweep remaining a possibility.

“Don’t expect too much from me,” he joked. “But I’m hoping to give you a big jump on the large hill as well.”