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Johansson leads qualifying for large hill ski jumping

February 16, 2018

Robert Johansson, of Norway, takes off during qualification for the men's large hill individual ski jumping competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Robert Johansson carried his hot form into the men’s large hill ski jumping final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Johansson, with his trademark red handlebar mustache, led Friday’s qualifying with 131.9 points after a leap of 135 meters at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center.

He won the bronze in the normal hill on Saturday and put himself in good position for another medal in Saturday’s large hill final.

“Fantastic day again for me for sure,” Johansson said.” Of course I take a lot of confidence from the K90 (the men’s normal hill). I feel fantastic and it’s a great thing to feel when you are here.”

Japanese teenager Ryoyu Kobayashi had the longest jump of 143.5 meters but was marked down on his landing and he finished third in qualifying behind Norwegians Johansson and Johann Andre Forfang.

“I felt the wind was fortunate, to have head wind,” Kobayashi said. “It was a big difference from the trial round. I did a small adjustment and it was a big difference, I don’t really know why.”

Andreas Wellinger, who won gold in the normal hill competition, was fourth and defending Olympic champion Kamil Stoch was seventh.

Two-time Olympic champion Simon Ammann of Switzerland rounded out the top 10, nailing a strong jump of 140 meters then blowing kisses to the crowd from the landing area.

The qualifying rounds were held to reduce the number of jumpers to 50 for the final.

Japanese veteran Noriaki Kasai, who is competing in his record eighth Olympics, was 22nd, and Kevin Bickner of the United States qualified 35th.

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