Favored Kamil Stoch comes through, defends ski jumping title

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- After missing the podium a week ago, defending Olympic champion Kamil Stoch came up big on the large hill.

The 30-year-old Polish ski jumper had leaps of 135 and 136.5 meters for 285.7 points to win the gold medal on the large hill at the Pyeongchang Games.

Normal hill gold medalist Andreas Wellinger of Germany took the silver at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre while Robert Johansson of Norway won the bronze.

Stoch, who won both the normal and large hill golds in Sochi, had to settle for fourth behind Wellinger, Johann Andre Forfang and Johansson on the normal hill.

"During the normal hill final, I was feeling OK but couldn't find my best jumps," Stoch said. "Today, I did truly my best ski jumping, and these were the best jumps I could do."

First overall in the World Cup standings, Stoch was the favorite coming into the Games, so failing to medal would have been a huge disappointment.

He won his second straight Four Hills tournament in Bischofshofen, Austria, on Jan. 6 and became only the second ski jumper in the long history of the sport to win all four stages of the prestigious event.

The final was so close, Stoch wasn't sure if he had won after completing his second jump. Wellinger had a longer jump of 142 meters on his second attempt but finished with 282.3 points.

With a gold and a silver, the 22-year-old Wellinger is putting on quite a performance in his second Olympics.

"I thought my second jump was really nice," Wellinger said. "I had a chance with the headwind, but after Kamil made his jump, I knew he had won. I will now fight for a medal in the team event."

Johansson, with his trademark handlebar mustache, was thrilled to get his second medal.

"I'm getting more and more confidence with each jump," Johansson said. "The whole team is doing well, and I'm really enjoying this Olympics."

Japanese veteran Noriaki Kasai, the 2014 large hill silver medalist, failed to qualify for the final round.