LILLEHAMMER, Norway (AP) — Sara Takanashi of Japan won the first women’s ski jump World Cup event of the season on Saturday, showing why she is the favorite for gold at the Sochi Olympics.
Takanashi won the overall World Cup title last season. Her biggest rival — American Sarah Hendrickson — is sidelined with an injury, so the Japanese jumper is expected to have another dominant season.
She jumped 102 and 96.5 meters on Saturday for a total of 286 points, comfortably beating Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria and Gianina Ernst of Germany, who were tied for second with 270 points.
Iraschko-Stolz had the day’s longest jump of 102.5 meters in the first round, but managed 94.5 in her second attempt.
On Friday, Takanashi helped Japan win the mixed team event.