AP Photo/Darko Bandic
AP Photo/Darko Bandic

Loutitt, Strate find podium at Ski Jumping World Cup in Zao, Japan

Canadian ski jumper Alexandria Loutitt stepped onto the podium twice at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Zao, Japan, finishing third individually on Friday before capturing a team second place alongside Abigail Strate on Saturday.

“I’m definitely really happy with my performance today. I finally feel like everything is back in motion,” said the 20-year-old Calgarian post-competition on Friday.

Finishing on the podium’s final step, she scored 216.7 points, jumping 94.0m on her first jump and 98.5 on her second. The podium was topped by Nika Prevc of Slovenia, marking her fifth victory of the season. Second place went to home crowd favourite Yuki Ito of Japan. Ito had the longest jump of the day on the normal hill, spanning 101.5m on her second attempt.

The hill at Zao holds fond memories for Loutitt. She secured her first-ever World Cup podium there, placing first at the venue last January.

It was a solid overall performance for Team Canada, with Strate finishing 7th and Nicole Maurer finishing 26th. The Canadian team has reached the podium in seven of the 10 events they have competed in this year.

The finish also marked Loutitt’s first World Cup podium of 2024, following a successful end to 2023, which saw her on the podium three times in December. Loutitt had a bumpy go in the first events after the calendar flipped.

“I had some bad luck. I crashed. I had a few bad performances. And then all of our luggage got lost (on the way to Japan), so we didn’t compete one day in Sapporo,” she added. “The second day (in Sapporo) was good, but I was .3 points off the podium (in fourth) and I felt like I was I in such a fog.

“I made it to Zao with a clear head. I felt like my performance showed that and my last jump today I finally felt like me again so I’m really, really happy.”

Strate has also had a breakout season, reaching the podium three times since December.

The pair also captured more hardware on Saturday, placing Team Canada second in the women’s super team normal hill event, finishing with an overall score of 709.7, behind Slovenia’s 722.2, yet ahead of Austria’s 697.0, which rounded off the podium

The next World Cup will take place Jan 26-28 in Ljubno, Slovenia.

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