Quiet night of team training on Olympic large hill

DENNIS PASSA AP Sports Writer Published:

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) -- Most of the top-ranked ski jumpers at the Sochi Olympics didn't bother to take part in three training rounds on Sunday evening ahead of Monday's team gold medal final.

The top three from Saturday's large hill individual final -- Kamil Stoch of Poland, Noriaki Kasai of Japan and Peter Prevc of Slovenia -- couldn't train anyway -- they were busy at an official medal presentation ceremony down on the Black Sea coast.

Nordic combined athlete Evgeniy Klimov did jump on a foggy Sunday evening at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center. Klimov was drafted into the Russian ski jumping team as a replacement for Mikhail Maksimochkin, who broke two ribs in a training fall on Wednesday and spent two nights in the hospital.

Only 27 jumpers took part in the first two training runs Sunday out of an original start list of 70, a figure that dropped to 24 in the third round.

There will be 12 four-man teams in Monday's final, and the bottom four teams will be eliminated after one set of jumps. The remaining eight teams continue with another jump each, with the winner to be decided on total points.

Austria is the defending champion from Vancouver in 2010, when Germany won silver and Norway the bronze.

Double gold medalist Stoch will attempt to become the second man to win three ski jumping gold medals at one Winter Games -- after Matti Nykanen of Finland at Calgary 1988 -- when he leads Poland.

Three Polish jumpers finished in the top 15 of the individual competition and they are considered a podium favorite along with Japan, Germany and Austria.

Germany has made the podium in the last four World Cup large hill team events.

"There are a lot of teams which are on a similar level," Stoch said. "I really would like to have a third gold medal but it will be hard to win any medal."