Japans's 50-year drought ended Monday in Japan when Ryoyu Kobayashi landed his gold medal run in the men's normal hill final. With elegance and elite technique, it was made clear why the two-time Four Hills tournament champion did not perform a stellar jump in the qualification round. It was because he didn't need to. 

Kobayashi’s gold medal jump off the take-off table earned him 275.0 total points. Jumping with supreme confidence, he can now add his first Olympic gold medal to his impressive career highlights. Delivering a huge jump when it mattered most, Kobayashi proved that his mental and physical preparation for the Games paid off. 

Austria’s Manuel Fettner took silver in the competition. Although he is ranked 18th in the 2021-2022 World Cup standings, Fettner soared and earned 270.8 total points. Poland’s Dawid Kubacki made his third Olympic appearance at the 2022 Games and took home his second Olympic bronze medal. 

Prior to Kobayashi’s dazzling gold medal jump, competition began with a rocky start. Performances from the top qualifying athletes like Norway’s Marius Lindvik and Robert Johansson finished the first round of the men’s individual normal hill right in the middle of the pack in 16th and 17th. Joining the Norwegians, Germany’s top-ranked World Cup champion Karl Geiger also missed out on the podium with 252.8 total points between the first and final round.

Only the top 30 jumpers out of 50 in the first round advanced to the finals and American’s Casey Larson, Kevin Bickner, Decker Dean and Patrick Gasienica were among the athletes that did not make it to the finals. They finished the first round of competition in 39th, 43rd, 44th and 49th place.