KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Based on training sessions in the Caucasus Mountains above Sochi, the battle for the Winter Olympics' first-ever gold medal in women's ski jumping was between Sara Takanashi and Daniela Iraschko-Stolz.
Carina Vogt had other ideas.
A distant second place to Takanashi in the World Cup standings and never a winner of a World Cup event, Vogt now owns the most important medal in her sport.
"I cannot find the right words, it's amazing, I wouldn't have thought it was possible three hours ago," the German jumper said. "It's amazing. I'm the first woman Olympic champion in ski jumping."
Only in 2011 did the International Olympic Committee agreed to allow the women to compete at Sochi — 90 years after men first jumped at the inaugural Winter Games in 1924.
What's even more amazing is that 17-year-old Takanashi didn't even make the podium — Iraschko-Stolz took silver and Coline Mattell of France earned bronze, leaving Takansahi fourth.
The 22-year-old Vogt, a trained police officer, didn't come to Sochi with a glowing resume. She finished third with Germany in a mixed team at the world titles in Italy last year, where she was also fifth in the individual normal hill.
But her World Cup record has improved — one sixth placing in 2011-12, a third, fourth and sixth in 2012-13 and perhaps more tellingly, a consistent four second-place finishes this season which indicated she may have been closing in on something special.
Two of those four second placings came in Japan on back-to-back weekends, losing both times to Takanashi and a very parochial home crowd. Less than a month later, she'd be beating the Japanese star where it counted most.
Vogt, who became interested in ski jumping when she became mesmerized by it on TV as a four-year-old, performed when it counted Tuesday, scoring 247.4 points on the normal hill at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center, six better than the Iraschko-Stolz.