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At Over 51 and a Half, Noriaki Kasai Scored in the Ski Jumping World Cup!

I was waiting for this moment a year ago, when international ski jumping competitions returned to Japan, but back then Noriaki Kasai took part in two qualifying sessions only to fail to make it through both times, the situation being particularly frustrating the first time around, when he was the first to miss out, by a mere 0.4 points. However, as expected, he tried again this year, and this time around he didn’t just make it through the qualifying round and reach an actual Ski Jumping World Cup round for the first time in four years, but he even reached the second round of the actual competition! His second jump was the worst of the round by quite some margin, so he dropped two places and finished last, a long way behind anyone else, but that still means scoring, even if just one point, and therefore appearing on the standings for the first time in five years… And no less than 34 years since the first time he earned World Cup points, though back then it was much harder to do so, points only being awarded to the top 15 instead of the top 30.
A second competition follows in just a few hours, and there may be some chances of witnessing yet another historical moment for the sport. Since the actual competition follows right after the qualifying round, and since this round takes place in the morning after the previous one took place in the afternoon, I consider Kasai’s chances of repeating today’s performance to be quite slim, since recovery gets harder and slower as the years pass, but he may surprise yet again. And even if he doesn’t, he’s already a living legend for the sport, and unless he’ll be stopped by a serious injury or illness, which I definitely hope won’t happen, he’ll probably keep competing at least in Japan for quite some time to come.


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