Iraschko's win puts women's ski jumping on IOC's radar
IOC now considering women's ski jump at 2014 Olympics in Russia
New world champion Daniela Iraschko of Austria is convinced women's ski jumping merits inclusion at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
Iraschko twice landed jumps of 97 metres to beat Elena Runggaldier and Coline Mattel in windy and foggy conditions at the Holmenkollen venue on Friday in Oslo, Norway.
The International Olympic Committee rejected an application to include the sport at the 2010 Vancouver games, but will decide whether to add it to the program for the 2014 Olympics in Russia.
"I think that we will start at Sochi 2014," Iraschko said. "Women's ski jumping is a great sport. It was really hard to jump today, but I think we did very well."
American Lindsey Van exited early after a poor jump in the first round. Van became the first women's ski jumping world champion in 2009.
Visibility at the Midtstubakken normal hill was so poor that fans in the stands did not get their first glimpse of the jumpers until they were about to land.
But the tough conditions didn't bother the winner, who took inspiration from the large crowd.
"I loved it," Iraschko said. "It's fun ski jumping when you can only see two metres in front of you."
She has emerged as the woman to beat after winning the Continental Cup last year. An untimely knee injury almost ended her hopes of improving on a fourth-place finish at the last world championships.
"I'm so happy to have won despite my injury," she said. "It was hard to come back so early, but I have a very good medical team."
Silver medallist Runggaldier was pleased with her performance and the impression the event made on spectators.
The Italian was not among a group of jumpers who filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee to have the sport added to the last games. But she is hopeful that the governing body will give the go-ahead for 2014.
"I think we showed we're able to jump like men, and I hope that will open some doors for us," Runggaldier said.
Coline Mattel, a 15-year-old from France, moved up the rankings from fifth to third with a 97-metre second jump.
"I'm happy, emotional but also a bit disappointed because I know I can do better," she said.
Mattel said it was unfortunate that extreme weather conditions hampered the event for the second consecutive worlds. She hoped the relatively short jumps wouldn't hurt their chances when the IOC convenes to decide on the Olympic future of the sport.
Earlier, Daiki Ito of Japan placed highest in qualifying for the men's normal hill event, scoring 123.4 points for his 102-metre jump.
The 10 highest-ranked jumpers this season weren't required to qualify for Saturday's final.
Thomas Morgenstern of Austria and Simon Ammann of Switzerland — first and second in the World Cup standings — elected to sit out the session.
Individual Nordic combined and women's cross-country skiing finals are scheduled for Saturday. The Nordic world skiing championships run through March 6.