Germany's Freund wins ski flying World Cup in Austria

TAUPLITZ, Austria (AP) German ski jumper Severin Freund beat Four Hills Tour champion Stefan Kraft of Austria in difficult weather conditions to win a ski flying World Cup event on Saturday.

From a lowered start because of strong winds, Freund jumped 227.5 and 210 meters to gain a total of 420.5 points - 26.1 ahead of Kraft, who had a personal best of 224 meters here in the opening round.

Freund won the ski flying world title last year but had been lacking a World Cup podium in the discipline.

''I had to change that as quickly as possible. It's great I managed to do it today,'' said the German, who earned his 11th World Cup win in total.

Slovenian pair Jurij Tepes and Peter Prevc finished third and fourth, respectively.

Michael Hayboeck of Austria was 28th after the first round but improved to 16th to remain overall leader with 704 points. Second-place Kraft has closed the gap to seven points. Freund is fourth on 633.

It was the first competition since a reconstruction of the 200-meter hill, which was the scene for Thomas Morgenstern's horrific crash a year ago.

The three-time Olympic champion from Austria suffered skull injuries and a bruised lung after losing balance and falling during a training jump. Morgenstern recovered in time to compete at the Sochi Olympics before retiring in the offseason.

Another ski flying competition is scheduled for Sunday.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.