Slovenia ended their wait for a Winter Youth Olympic Games gold at Lillehammer 2016 in style as Ema Klinec claimed victory in the women’s ski jumping event, before team-mate Bor Pavlovcic followed suit in the men’s competition here today.
Amid near perfect conditions at the iconic venue, which was used during the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer 22 years ago, Klinec soared to a dominant success thanks to a last round effort of 96 metres, which earned her a total of 249.3 points.
The Slovenian star had earlier topped the standings following an opening jump of 95m, though she was visibly perturbed on landing as her leap was only the third highest of the round.
But it mattered little as she finished a comfortable 11.7 points ahead of silver medallist Sofia Tikhonova of Russia, who managed a colossal jump of 97m as well as 92.5m to end with a total score of 273.6.
Italy’s Lara Malsiner, who leapt 95.5m and 94.5m to record 231.6 points, took home bronze.
Klinec is hoping her triumph here can be a springboard for future success as she aims to follow in the footsteps of Japanese sensation Sara Takanashi, the 19-year-old who won gold in the event at Innsbruck 2012 and who looks on course to claim the overall International Ski Federation (FIS) Ski Jumping World Cup crown.
“Beating the boys is a strong motivation for me," Klinec said.
“Winning gold is fantastic, but I’m always just trying to go further than ever.
"I’d like to go on and do what [Sara] Takanashi did, too.”
Pavlovcic was also in commanding form as he breezed to gold to seal a superb day for his nation.
He led the way following the first round as he was the only competitor in the 19-strong field to jump past the 100m mark with an opening leap of 101m, before a second attempt of 99m saw him clinch the Winter Youth Olympic Games title with a score of 262.8 points.
The Slovenian athlete was streets ahead of the rest as he was 11.8 clear of home favourite Marius Lindvik, who earned a decent total of 251 points.
The Norwegian appeared disappointed with his second jump of 94m after he had opened with 98.5m.
Bronze went to Germany’s Jonathan Siegel as his efforts of 98.5m and 90.5m saw him round off the podium in third with an overall score of 236 points.
Slovenia has a rich tradition in the sport and boasts a range of top-tier senior ski jumpers such as Peter Prevc, who was recently crowned world champion and is currently the overall FIS Ski Jumping World Cup leader.