Ski Jumping: Pettersen soars above Four Hills field to take fourth World Cup title

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The Independent Online

Sigurd Pettersen, of Norway, outleaped his rivals to capture the first event in the prestigious Four Hills ski jumping tournament here in Germany yesterday.

The 23-year-old won his second World Cup event this season in commanding style, soaring 143.5m on his second leap - 10 meters beyond the rest of the field - and was awarded 295.2 points overall to claim his fourth World Cup title.

The Austrian 17-year-old Thomas Morgenstern made a spectacular return from a bad crash four weeks ago to finish second with 272.7 points. Fellow countryma Martin Hoellwarth was third with 269.1. Morgenstern, the two-times junior world champion, suffered an ankle injury and was left scarred by a spectacular crash at the World Cup in Kuusamou, Finland.

The Four Hills defending champion, Sven Hannevald, of Germany, was 18th and said Pettersen's dominance was discouraging. He already trails the Norwegian by 50 points.

"I can write off the tournament. It's a frustrating situation to see how far he jumped. You just have to keep your cool," Hannevald said. Pettersen shattered the old hill record by nearly 10 meters on his second leap. However, the Schattenberg slope was rebuilt this year to add distance to jumps.

Roar Ljoekelsoey, of Norway, retained his lead in the overall standings with 317 points, with Pettersen on 306. Finland's Janne Ahonen is third with 288.

The next stop in the 52nd Four Hills tournament, ski jumping's most renowned event, is Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year's Day.