Host City: Sapporo, Japan
Venue(s): Miyanomori Jump Hill, Sapporo
Date Started: February 6, 1972
Date Finished: February 6, 1972
Format: Two jumps, with both scored on distance and form.
The host nation for the 1972 Winter Games, Japan, had only been able to collect one silver medal in earlier Olympic Winter Games, done by [Chiharu Igaya] in men’s slalom in Cortina 1956. But this time they had great expectations for their excellent ski jumping team. The team was composed of four experienced jumpers, all of whom had shown good form early in the season. The big star was undoubtedly 28-year old [Yukio Kasaya]. He had taken a silver medal in the Normal Hill at the 1970 World Championships behind double gold medalist [Gari Napalkov] of Soviet. In the Four Hill’s Tournament at the beginning of the Olympic season, Kasaya had won the first three competitions. After that the Japanese team returned home to Japan to prepare for their home Olympics. Kasaya would probably have won the overall combined tournament easily, instead the Norwegian [Ingolf Mork] was the overall winner due to Kasaya’s absence in the fourth competition. Also the fact that all jumpers of the Japanese team came from Hokkaido made the local interest for the Normal Hill competition, three days after the opening of the Games, enormous.
After the first round the Japanese audience went wild: The Japanese quartet held the first four positions! Kasaya made a perfect jump of 84.0 m, the longest of the day, but was closely followed by [Seiji Aochi], who jumped 83.5 m. In third place was [Akitsugu Konno] from Sapporo, followed by the fourth Japanese, [Takashi Fujisawa], the silver medalist in the Large Hill from the World Championships in Oslo six years earlier. Best of the non-Japanese jumpers was the Swede [Rolf Nordgren] followed by another surprise man, the 19-year old Pole [Wojciech Fortuna].
The Japanese team was under great pressure from the home crowd before the start of the second round. Kasaya kept cool, had the best jump of all in the second round and won by a margin of almost 10 points. Konno made the second best jump of the second round and advanced to silver, and Aochi secured a clean medal sweep for Japan, the first in ski jumping since the Norwegian team made it in 1948. Only Fujisawa could not repeat his first jump, he missed totally and fell down from fourth to 23rd in the final ranking. Mork advanced from 14th after the first round, being the best non-Japanese in fourth place, and defending Olympic Champion [Jiří Raška] climbed from 13th to a final fifth place. Fortuna kept his sixth place from the first round, and the double World 1970 Champion Napalkov had to be content with a seventh place.
Kasaya and his teammates were celebrated as national heroes, Japan having avenged the disappointing results from their male speed skating sprinters in the 500 m from the day before.
|7T||Gary Napalkov||23||Soviet Union||URS||220.2|
|9||K'oba Ts'akadze||37||Soviet Union||URS||219.9|
|11T||Frithjof Prydz, Jr.||28||Norway||NOR||217.8|
|15||Rainer Schmidt||23||East Germany||GDR||217.2|
|16||Ernst von Grünigen||21||Switzerland||SUI||212.4|
|18T||Henry Glaß||18||East Germany||GDR||211.8|
|20||Yury Kalinin||19||Soviet Union||URS||211.6|
|21||Anatoly Zheglanov||25||Soviet Union||URS||210.0|
|31||Hans-Georg Aschenbach||20||East Germany||GDR||198.5|
|34||Jerry Martin||21||United States||USA||197.2|
|38||Manfred Wolf||24||East Germany||GDR||195.0|
|39||Stanisław Gąsienica Daniel||20||Poland||POL||194.0|
|41||Ron Steele||18||United States||USA||192.3|
|46||Günther Göllner||30||West Germany||FRG||185.9|
|47||Alfred Grosche||22||West Germany||FRG||182.8|
|49||Sepp Schwinghammer||21||West Germany||FRG||180.1|
|50||Greg Swor||20||United States||USA||179.4|
|51||Jo Inge Bjørnebye||25||Norway||NOR||174.2|
|52||Scott Berry||23||United States||USA||172.0|