Ski jump champ Stoch primed for podium at PyeongChang

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2018, file photo, Poland's Kamil Stoch soars through the air during the trial jump at the third stage of the four hills ski jumping tournament in Innsbruck, Austria. With an historic win on the World Cup circuit, double Olympic champion Stoch is in peak form as he aims to defend his ski jumping titles at the Pyeongchang Games. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File)

(AP) — Double Olympic champion Kamil Stoch is in peak form as he aims to defend his ski jumping titles at the Pyeongchang Games.

When Stoch won double gold in Sochi, he became just the third man to do so. Matti Nykanen of Finland won both golds in 1988. Switzerland’s Simon Ammann won two golds in 2002 and 2010.

Here’s some of what to know going into ski jumping at the Pyeongchang Games:

MEDAL FAVORITES

Slovenia’s Peter Prevc won silver on the normal hill and bronze on the large hill in Sochi. While he has struggled this year on the World Cup circuit he will be banking on experience that includes winning the 2016 World Cup and the 2016 Four Hills.

Germany’s Richard Freitag has three World Cup wins so far this season but fell during the Innsbruck stop of the Four Hills and suffered a hip injury that could jeopardize his Olympic medal hopes.

RISING STARS

Daniel Andre Tande has three World Cup wins. The Norwegian could be set for a breakthrough in Pyeongchang.

POTENTIAL RECORD SETTERS

Another jumper to keep an eye on will be Noriaki Kasai. Known as “Legend Kasai” in his native Japan, he will be competing in his eighth consecutive Olympics.

Kasai would become the sole record-holder for most Winter Olympic appearances if he competes in Pyeongchang. He currently shares the record with Russian luger Albert Demchenko.

Kasai made his Olympic debut at the 1992 Albertville Games in France, and has appeared at every event since. He has earned three medals, including team silver at Lillehammer in 1994, and silver for the large hill and team bronze at Sochi.

He is the oldest Olympic ski jumping medalist and the oldest ski jumping World Cup individual event winner.

BEST RIVALRY: Germany edged out Austria in the team event four years ago and the two ski jumping rivals should provide some fireworks again this year along with powerhouse Norway.

The ski jumping competition will take place at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre, which is located in the Pyeongchang Mountain Cluster.

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More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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