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Eight seconds of pure adrenaline

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18th March, 2017. While ski flying on the "Monsterbakken" in Vikersund, Stefan Kraft was in the air for more than eight seconds before landing at 253.5 meters - a world record that still stands today. It was a flight of "pure adrenaline", as the Austrian described it afterwards, with a landing so forceful it brought Kraft to his knees. "Simply unbelievable" exclaimed the then 23-year-old when he went back to that spot in the outrun after the competition. Years later, he recalled in an interview that he hadn't actually caught the jump perfectly, but soon realized in the air that it was going to be a long way down. "At 100 metres I knew it would be a world record; at 200 I just hoped that I wouldn’t crash."

The Austrian’s flight wasn’t good news for everyone. Just before Kraft, Norway's Robert Johansson had sailed to 252 meters and was able to celebrate the world record – a record only held for a matter of minutes, when Kraft took Johansson's place in the history books.

Even Kraft’s extraordinary flight is unlikely to remain at the top of the record books forever. At the end of 2023, FIS ski jumping race director Sandro Pertile confirmed that a new challenge was being sought, with an increase to around 265 meters is possible. "But” he warns: “you have to be careful."