VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (AP) — Norwegian ski jumper Anders Bardal won his first major championship title on Saturday by taking gold in the normal hill event at the Nordic skiing worlds.
Bardal had the longest jump of the day with 103.5 meters in the first round and finished with a total of 252.6 points. Overall World Cup leader Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria was 4.2 points back in second place, with Peter Prevc of Slovenia finishing 8.3 points behind in third.
The 30-year-old Bardal, who won the overall World Cup last year, had four previous silver medals at the world Championships and took bronze at the 2010 Olympics, but all those came in team events.
"It's the best day ever for me," Bardal said. "I tried to stay calm and stay focused and felt I managed quite well. So it's a perfect day.
Schlierenzauer suffered from his coach's decision to start him lower down the ramp in an attempt to pick up valuable bonus points, as he was the only top-eight finisher who failed to get at least one jump past the 100-meter mark.
"It's not always so easy as it looks like when you're one of the top favorites," Schlierenzauer said. "So for me it's a fine day, silver medal on the smaller hill is fantastic and I'm looking forward to the larger hill.
"Sometimes you have to take a risk to try and win. It was a good decision. But Anders was technically better today."
Defending champion Thomas Morgenstern was fifth, while four-time Olympic champion Simon Ammann finished 16th.