Germany 'are dangerous outsiders'

Germany's ski jumpers will find it hard to win any individual medals at the Winter Olympics.


Germany won the large hill individual and team golds in 1994 and triumphed again in the team event in 2002 but failed to claim a medal in Turin four years ago.

"We are dangerous outsiders," Werner Schuster said. "We realise it will be very difficult for us to make the podium."

The Germans brought in Schuster two years ago as part of a major overhaul of their ski jumping operation.

The team consists of promising teenagers and experienced jumpers like Michael Uhrmann, Martin Schmitt (both pictured) and Michael Neumayer, who are all in their earlier 30s.

"We have nothing in between ... we made some mistakes in the last few years. Now we have the idea of going a better way," team spokesman Ralph Eder said. "I think in a few years we'll be a really tough team."

Eder said the Germans' most realistic chance of a medal was in the team event. They lie second in the World Cup standings but have fewer than half the points of leaders Austria.

The leading German in this season's World Cup individual standings is Schmitt, who is languishing in 12th place.

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