- POSTED: 09 Feb 2014 00:18
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Austria's Daniela Iraschko-Stolz dominated the women's first outing on an Olympic ski jumping hill, winning two of the three training jumps and relegating Japanese favourite Sara Takanashi to second spot.
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia: Austria's Daniela Iraschko-Stolz dominated the women's first outing on an Olympic ski jumping hill on Saturday, winning two of the three training jumps and relegating Japanese favourite Sara Takanashi to second spot.
The 30-year-old Austrian was the only woman to jump 100 metres despite a fall upon landing in the second jump.
But 17-year-old World Cup leader Takanashi showed she was a force to be reckoned with, leading after the first jump, ahead of Iraschko-Stolz, and finishing second in the next two.
America's Sarah Hendrickson, who has been widely touted as a top medal contender despite not having competed since August due to a knee injury, had a poor training, finishing 28th and 27th in the only two jumps she completed.
Takanashi admitted to some nervousness before descending the 106-metre "normal hill", which saw jumpers reach speeds of over 90 kmh.
"That was my first training so I was a bit stressed but I think I managed, it was ok," she said.
"I wasn't satisfied with every jump. I concentrated on getting a feeling for this hill."
Iraschko-Stolz also admitted to feeling tense as women's ski jumping finally reached the Olympic stage after years of fighting and even legal action.
"I was a bit nervous before this first training, but I like this hill, it's perfectly prepared. It was really cool," said Iraschko-Stolz.
Of her poor landing, which saw her sit on her heels, she explained: "I tried to push even harder, I think I was a little over-motivated and with the light and shadows it was a bit difficult."
"There was no contrast in the snow, I think that's why a lot of racers had problems with the landing, because you couldn't see the snow and see where you should land."
"So I kind of overlooked that but other than that, it was all fine," said the jumper, who suffered a bad knee injury last year but said she was now as fit as she could ever be.
Hendrickson, the 2013 world champion, was back on the world stage just five months after undergoing surgery on her knee and having missed the entire World Cup season.
"I'm not that happy about training today," said the 19-year-old.
"I have to give myself a little bit of a break because I haven't had that many jumps and this is a new hill.
"Luckily I have a few more days to get used to the hill and fix some things but I'm just happy to be here."
Germany's Carina Vogt - currently second in the overall World Cup rankings - Yuki Ito of Japan and Slovenian Maja Vtic also had good training runs.
The women will get more training time on the hill on Sunday and Monday before a historic first gold medal is decided under the floodlights of the RusSki Gorki venue on Tuesday evening.