Ski jumper Althaus: "Of course that's crazy."
Photo: IMAGO/Eibner/Memmler / IMAGO/Eibner
Success can look very different.
When Katharina Althaus won her first gold medal at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica on Thursday, she fell to the ground and cried profusely.
At the second victory with the team, she sang "We are number one in the world." And at the third title of the competition on Sunday, she danced together with her mixed colleagues and announced a small party: "The boys' coaches have guitars with them and drums.
There's a good atmosphere there,' she said.
The German ski jumpers are in a rush to win medals - and that has mainly to do with Althaus.
She is now the first ski jumper in history to collect seven gold medals, only Austria's Thomas Morgenstern has more titles (eight).
From a German point of view, only combined athlete Johannes Rydzek had won three gold medals at a Nordic World Championships in Lahti in 2017.
"Of course that's crazy," says Althaus.
The different reactions to the gold medals can be explained by the fact that for Althaus, 26, the first medal was a very special one.
Although she has been in the ski jumping business since 2008, she has never won a major singles title.
»It wasn't in my head at all, because I think to myself: Before I finish fourth, fifth, sixth, I'd rather finish second.
That's why I would have been happy about a different medal," Althaus said: "But of course it's much nicer this way."
Althaus had already collected a few gold medals with the teams and on Saturday another one was added.
Althaus had brought victory to the finish line in difficult conditions, after she had also shown the longest jump of the Germans in the first round.
“Gold simply inspires, I was happy to take the momentum with me,” said Althaus.
Althaus completed her personal hat trick on Sunday.
With the mixed competition, which has already been successful in the past four world championships, she won her third gold medal.
Again she played a key role.
“Katha made a flight here, it was awesome.
Unbelievable, we defended the title," said the men's national coach Stefan Horngacher, who also praised final jumper Andreas Wellinger.
Althaus is currently experiencing the most successful days of her career.
Her brother Felix introduced her to ski jumping at the age of six and made her debut in the Continental Cup in 2008 when she was twelve.
She was present when women hosted a World Cup series for the first time (2011/2012) and at the Olympic premiere of women's ski jumping in Sochi in 2014.
She had already collected four world championship team gold medals before the current world championship, as well as a silver medal in 2019 in the individual.
At the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang and 2022 in Beijing, she finished second on the normal hill.
“Each medal has something of its own.
Winning in a team is super cool," said Althaus: "But alone it's just something different, because nobody can pull it out anymore.
If the jump doesn't fit, then you're not at the top.
In the team, it sometimes evens out a bit if someone jumps better.«
In Beijing, apart from the silver medal, Althaus made the headlines with another event in particular.
In the mixed competition, she was disqualified because, according to inspectors, she was wearing a suit that did not conform to the rules, the fabric around her buttocks was too wide.
The German side was angry and spoke of a »Punch and Punch« show.
Althaus himself said at the time, "Fis destroyed women's ski jumping today." She also wore the suit at the silver jump two days earlier.
It would have been almost impossible for Althaus to bag three gold medals.
Not so long ago she had toyed with the idea of ending her career.
"I was so far that I said: I won't do it forever," she said in April last year.
But the prospect of a women's Four Hills Tournament had motivated her to continue.
Only: In the meantime it is not so certain when this will start.
The 2023/2024 season was originally planned, but the Austrian Ski Association postponed the start by at least a year.
All sorts of variants are currently being discussed.
Althaus had recently reacted with incomprehension.
These negative experiences seem far away these days.
Althaus could continue to be successful in Planica: The competition on the large hill will start in the middle of the week, Althaus has already had some successes here too, the hills are actually even better for her.
Let's see how long the encore lasts.
With material from dpa and sid