Schlierenzauer sets hill record

Good weather helped the world's top ski jumpers notch long distances in the qualifying round but heavy rain predicted for Saturday's normal hill event will make conditions harder.


Snow and rain had slowed the track down on Thursday. It was a very different story on Friday, when Swiss favorite Simon Ammann took off from the ramp on a training run and then found himself soaring to a huge 109 meters.

"I was suddenly awake," he said, saying it would be hard for jump organizers to decide where to put the starting gate for the competition at the Vancouver Olympics.

Once the gate's position has been set during a medal event it cannot be changed, regardless of weather changes. This means athletes jumping in good conditions can be at a significant advantage.

Saturday's event will be the first time the Whistler normal hill has been used in competition. Although the world's top 10 jumpers qualified automatically, all chose to jump on Friday.

Amman is most likely to be challenged by Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer, who set an official hill record of 107 meters.

Austria's Thomas Morgenstern and Poland's Adam Malysz - who have both performed well this week in training - were tied in second with jumps of 105.5 meters.

Lars Bystol of Norway, who won the event in 2006, will not be defending his title.

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