VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (AP) — Austria won its fifth successive ski jump team title on the large hill to take its first gold medal at the Nordic skiing world championships on Saturday.
Wolfgang Loitzl, Manuel Fettner, Thomas Morgenstern and Gregor Schlierenzauer racked up a total of 1,135.9 points to beat the German team of Andreas Wank, Severin Freund, Michael Neumayer and Richard Freitag by 14.1 points.
The Polish team of Maciej Kot, Piotr Zyla, Dawid Kubacki and Kamil Stoch was 0.8 further back. Norway looked to have won silver but was demoted to fourth when it was realized the judges had mistakenly awarded Anders Bardal points for starting from a lower gate than he did on his first jump.
Morgenstern revealed it was him who had pointed out the error. "I saw that he had been awarded the same extra points as me for jumping from the same gate and I thought this is not right, because I knew he did not jump from the same gate as me," the Austrian said. "So I told some guys and it went from there.
"For sure I think Poland should give me a gift — I think they should give me a passport!" Fettner is the most unheralded of the four Austrians but ended up playing a huge part in the victory. He lost a ski as he landed on his second jump but somehow managed to stay upright to avoid a penalty.
"Something went wrong with the binding, I don't know if it broke but it went off," Fettner said. "I realized when I was landing, but I just kept holding on as I realized it counted for so much, would have been a really big penalty.
"I don't know how I did it (stayed upright)." Wank had the longest jump of 135.5 meters. "I'm happy to get the furthest jump today," he said. "We wanted to get a medal, thought maybe it would be gold medal. But it's a medal and we're happy.
"Austria are really good, that's why they've won the last five times. And I think when you manage to land with just one ski you have to win the gold medal!" Austria has also won the last two Olympic titles, beating Germany by 72.1 points in Vancouver.
"I think we will go further and further," Wank added. "There were not so much points between us. I think it will be a good competition (in Sochi). We'll do our best and maybe come first." Stoch, who claimed the first major medal of his career with victory in the individual event on Thursday, said he and his Poland teammates' emotions were put through the wringer at the end as they waited to find out whether or not they had won a medal.
"We were really disappointed that we didn't get a medal and really sad," he said. "After, we were really happy when we found out ... but then sad again as it wasn't sure ... and then happy! "So, really shaky feelings!"