SKI JUMPING Preview: Can Kobayashi keep his streak alive? How about Althaus?

Germany's Katharina Althaus

The FIS Ski Jumping World Cup continues for the men in Val di Fiemme for the men and in Sapporo (JPN) for the women, with both events featuring jumpers on hot streaks.

Men: Kobayashi looking for no. 6

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi has been the star of the season, winning four of the first seven events, then becoming only the third man ever to sweep the Four Hills Tournament over the new year.

So, he’s won five events in a row and eight of 11 events on the season … and he was a virtual unknown coming into the season. Now there are 28 events scheduled, but he has a 956-529 lead over Poland’s Piotr Zyla, with defending World Cup champion Kamil Stoch (POL) in third (504).

At Val di Fiemme, the jumping will be off the 135 m Trampolino dai Ben in two night competitions on Saturday and Sunday.

You have to go deep into the record book to find a Ski Jumping World Cup in Italy. The last was at Val di Fiemme in 2012, with Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) and Stoch winning the two night events.

Look for results here.

Women: Can anyone beat Althaus?

The women’s jumpers have been off for about a month, which was probably a disappointment to Germany’s Katharina Althaus.

She has won the last three events on the circuit, and has a 400-278 lead in the seasonal standings over defending World Cup champ Maren Lundby (NOR) and Russia Lidiia Iakovleva (262). Four-time World Cup champion Sara Takanashi (JPN) is fourth with 224 points.

This week’s jumping will be in Sapporo, where Takanashi has six wins, with two each in 2014-15-16. Last season, Lundy won both legs of the Sapporo series – both off of the 100 m Miyanomori hill – with Althaus going 2-3 and Takanashi, 3-2, in the two events.

The challenge will be a little bigger this time, as the jumping will be off the 137 m Okurayama hill, with Saturday’s event at night.

Althaus, 22, has steadily climbed up the World Cup standings, finishing fourth in 2016-17 and second last season. She came into the season with four career wins in World Cup events; she ha three already in 2018-19.

Look for results here.