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The perfect jump

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"There was something in the air," says Toni Innauer of 6 March 1976. At the ski flying competition on the Heinrich-Klopfer-Schanze in Oberstdorf, the then 17-year-old Austrian managed the perfect jump and was the first in history to receive the highest score of 20.0 from the jury five times. "It wasn't my strongest jump that weekend, though," remembers Innauer. The day before, he had landed at 174 metres, setting a new world record. The day after, he achieved 176 metres - a world record that was to stand for six years. In the legendary perfect jump, he ‘only’ reached 168 metres. "I put all my style into it and wanted to jump as elegantly as possible to get the highest mark five times," says Innauer.


The amazing score came off the back of another triumph for Innauer. Just a few weeks earlier, at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, he had won behind his compatriot Karl Schnabl. "I gambled away gold…" says Innauer. "That's why the world records and the perfect jump were so very important to me." He certainly achieved his goal – and set the bar high for other athletes. After Innauer, only seven others have achieved the feat of the perfect jump: Kazuyoshi Funaki (JPN), Roar Ljøkelsøy (NOR), Sven Hannawald (GER), Hideharu Miyahira (JPN), Wolfgang Loitzl (AUT), Peter Prevc (SLO) and Jurij Tepeš (SLO).