Salem Radio Network News Friday, May 20, 2022

Sports

Olympics-Stoch confident of jumping in Beijing after injury scare

By Anita Kobylinska

(Reuters) – Polish triple Olympic champion ski jumper Kamil Stoch can be optimistic about competing at next month’s Games in Beijing despite sustaining a freak ankle injury last week, Poland’s team doctor said on Friday.

The man who routinely leaps into the void from the dizzying heights of the ski jump ramp sprained his ankle throwing the ball back to team mates playing a warm-up foot-tennis session on Jan. 12, three weeks before the 2022 Olympics begin on Feb. 4.

“As of today, all indications are that he will be able to compete (in Beijing),” Poland’s team doctor Aleksander Winiarski told Reuters. “In my opinion it is very realistic, very likely that (his ankle) will be healed enough that there will be no problem.”

Stoch won gold in the men’s normal and large hill contests at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and successfully defended the large hill title in Pyeongchang four years later.

The MRI results on Thursday showed no damage to Stoch’s ankle ligaments, the doctor said. “The ligaments are whole, they are not torn. This is the most important information. The joint capsule is damaged, but that’s what we expected,” he said.

The injury scare was an unwelcome setback for the struggling Stoch, who is 17th in the World Cup standings and without a victory in the 2021-22 campaign as he searches for his best form.

Poland national team coach Michal Dolezal told local TV station TVP last week that Stoch was not even playing in the warm-up exercise. “The rest of the team was playing and he simply ran for the ball that got away,” he said. “That’s when it happened.”

Stoch has been working on his rehabilitation in the gym and is getting close to a return to action. “He definitely won’t jump today, we’ll see if he makes some trial jumps tomorrow,” the doctor said.

Double world champion and twice a winner of the overall ski jumping World Cup, Stoch is hoping for a return to competition at Willingen, Germany next week.

“He is quite optimistic because he sees that the ankle is healing nicely, that he can do more and more, that it does not cause him pain. And such a small swelling does not particularly bother him,” Winiarski added.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk, editing by Mitch Phillips and Christian Radnedge)

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