KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — With the gold medal on the line, Severin Freund made his final jump, then hoped it would be enough to give Germany victory in the team large hill ski jumping competition Monday at the Sochi Olympics.
Flying off the hill was the easy part.
"I thought only about what I had to do," Freund said. "The worst part of it was to wait. It seemed to me that the waiting (for the final score) was very, very long."
When the result flashed up on the scoreboard at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center, Germany had edged Austria by 2.7 points. That ended Austria's lengthy winning streak in the event — it had won gold in the last two Olympics and hadn't lost a team large hill competition since the 2005 world championships.
Germany, represented by Andreas Wank, Marinus Kraus, Andres Wellinger and Freund, had won its third gold in the Olympic event, and there were hugs all around in the landing area.
Austria was represented by Michael Hayboeck, Thomas Morgenstern, Thomas Diethart and Gregor Schlierenzauer.
Japan, with Reruhi Shimizu, Taku Takeuchi, Daiki Ito and large hill silver medalist Noriaki Kasai, won bronze.
With the bronze, 41-year-old Kasai won a team medal 20 years after his team silver at Lillehammer in 1994.
"The individual was more precious, but the team is more important," Kasai said. "I actually wanted gold, but the color doesn't mean anything anymore."
Wank won silver with the German team in Vancouver; his teammates all won their first Olympic medals in Sochi.
"I've got silver and now gold," Wank said. "I think it was really close competition ... now we will make a big party."
The silver medal was bittersweet for three-time Olympic champion Morgenstern, who was badly injured in a fall in early January and almost didn't make it to Sochi. He then failed to qualify for the final round of the individual large hill event, finishing 40th.