Halvor Egner Granerud at the World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf
Daniel Karmann / dpa
When Halvor Egner Granerud jumps down from the jumps of this world, it often seems downright carefree.
The Norwegian has the ability to dominate this complicated sport with an amazing ease.
Granerud has won eleven World Cup competitions this season, winning the overall standings can only be taken from him in theory.
At 24, Granerud is at the optimal age for ski jumpers.
He was the top favorite in the run-up to the Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, ideally he could have won up to four gold medals and become the superstar of this world championship.
But now the World Cup is over for Granerud.
His last corona test was positive, he says he shows slight symptoms and has to go into quarantine.
So it remains for him with a silver medal in the mixed team.
"It is of course hard for an athlete who came to the World Cup as one of the biggest favorites to be knocked out by a virus," said Norway's head of ski jumping, Clas Brede Braathen, at a press conference on Wednesday.
Braathen also stated that no other athlete from the Norwegian team has been classified as a close contact by the health department and can all compete.
Norway's trainer Alexander Stöckl confirmed to SPIEGEL, however, that another series of tests is pending and only then will a final decision on further starts be made.
So far, the concept of the organizing committee (OK) in Oberstdorf seemed to have worked.
All those involved - whether athletes or volunteers - are tested every two days, the athletes have no contact with outsiders in their environment.
And yet there have now been four positive tests in the Italian team, as a consequence Italy also withdrew completely from the World Cup this Wednesday.
Is this the beginning of five chaotic days at the World Cup?
With Granerud, the corona problem has got a prominent face.
So far, according to OK, 17,000 tests have been carried out, nine positive cases is a low value compared to the infection rate in Germany.
It is unclear where Granerud could have been infected.
A certain nervousness can be felt among those responsible at the OC and the international ski federation FIS - this can be seen in narrow-lipped messages.
Sports events are currently under special observation.
There are also critical voices in Oberstdorf as to why such an event with almost 5000 participants is being carried out in times of a pandemic.
Granerud lacks experience
The men's ski jumping competitions continue on Friday.
Then there is the individual competition on the large hill, on Saturday the team competition will follow on the same hill.
Granerud would have been the big gold contender, actually.
The World Cup is already the third major event this season and Granerud had not been able to confirm his outstanding World Cup results.
At the Ski Flying World Championships in Planica he landed just behind Karl Geiger on the silver rank, at the Four Hills Tournament Granerud made a mistake in difficult wind conditions in Innsbruck and landed fourth in the overall standings.
And in Oberstdorf it was again a weaker first jump on the normal hill that ruined his ambitions.
"Experience is an important factor at world championships," said his trainer Stöckl to SPIEGEL in the run-up to the world championships.
"It depends on two jumps and, as in the World Cup, there is no chance to iron out your mistake in the week after."
Stöckl: "It retains a certain lightness"
Granerud is already jumping in the World Cup in his fifth year, but he only made his breakthrough this season.
Even Stöckl hadn't expected to suddenly have a serial winner in his ranks again.
"It became clear in the summer that he would jump better than in the previous season," said the 47-year-old Austrian.
“But to that extent it was surprising to us too.
Last season almost nothing worked for him. "
Granerud was a good jumper before, but he got bogged down in technical details the previous year and was in his own way.
The turning point came in the summer, which Stöckl cannot attach to an event.
Granerud had found the ability "to always be open and not get lost in one direction," said Stoeckl.
“He's ready to try new things in engineering.
He does not want to be stubborn to find the optimal jump, but remains playful and maintains a certain lightness. "
For the other jumpers, Granerud's departure has changed little.
The world leaders are close together, led by the Germans Karl Geiger and Markus Eisenbichler, there are up to ten athletes who jump for victory in good external conditions.
Only the supposed top favorite is missing.
"For me, this season was a dream come true, and I achieved my goals," Granerud shared on Instagram.
In the coming years he should have enough chances to improve his record at world championships.
Icon: The mirror