Four Hills Tournament: Qualifying competition in Oberstorf

Christina/ January 6, 2024/ The daily grind

The Four Hills Tournament, which starts every year around the turn of the year and ends in the first week of January, is something I have been following since I was a child. Anyone who has experienced it knows that sporting events live on site are a completely different experience than the Sofaloge could ever offer. For the first time, I’ll be there live, at the opening qualification in Oberstdorf. The tickets for the opening competition on the following day were sold out. But what the heck: It’s the same athletes. And we take the full program with us: starting with the training, which starts at 2 p.m., and ending with the qualification, which starts at 4:30 p.m.

Oberstdorf in Party fever
The atmosphere in the “real Schanzenviertel” of the Orlen Arena is relaxed and cheerful. This is not least due to the fact that the event is perfectly organized. Starting with the parking facilities near the arena, the fixed admission with bag checks, the sanitary facilities, the catering and equipment with German flags. The weather also plays along. It’s dry, not too cold and the sun is shining. The whole of Oberstdorf is already in jumping fever when we reach the venue. Various stalls have been set up in the city centre. Mulled wine and beer are already flowing, party music accompanies the scenery. The right mood quickly arises. This lasts all the way to the Orlen Arena. With 16,300 spectators, the qualifying competition is well attended. The view of the 140 meter high Schattenbergschanze is good. Equipped with a drink, we take our standing places and wait for the things that (should) come.

Andreas Wellinger is the star of the qualifiers
A DJ heats up the visitors. Then three parachutists float into the stadium. So to speak, the “opening act” before the main act begins. A few jumpers make the start. Then it’s down to the nitty-gritty. Out of 50 jumpers who compete, 30 will make it to the second round, i.e. the opening competition. The mood in the audience rises slowly but surely. When the first Germans appear on the ski jump, a sea of flags can be seen and the spectators join forces in chanting the surnames of the Germans. With each jump, an extended “pull” can be heard. And it works. Andreas Wellinger makes an overwhelming jump of 135 meters and thus wins the qualification. State of emergency in the Orlen Arena. Of course, this makes ski jumping shows fun. We are there for the first time and then we see the victory of a German jumper. Fantastic. So well prepared and attuned, we are looking forward to the opening competition the following day, even if we can “only” watch it in front of the TV.

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