Everybody knew that this would be a very special Jump Finals. All week, the Jump performances were impressive. Today, the combination of a CorrectCraft Ski Nautique boat which had inspired confidence right from the start, excellent weather and a very large number of spectators, produced the ingredients for a high quality day. That is precisely what we got. As a matter of interest, although it all started at 11.00hrs, the spectators were already juggling for good seating at 09.45hrs. They were not disappointed.
Twelve Men and Ladies made it to the Finals. In the previous 2005 Finals in Tianjin, China, two of the Ladies exceeded 50m. Today, seven exceeded 50m. The first to get there was Iryna Turets BLR with exactly 50.0m. Next was Clementine Lucine FRA with 50.4. She was now also accumulating a bunch of extra Overall points at the same time. More about that later. June Fladborg DEN pushed the lead up to 50.9m. Now there were just four Jumpers left on the dock and 50% of them were Greek. Marie Vypranietsova GRE clocked up 50.6m with three still on the dock. The next moment was an emotional one for many. The World Record has remained unbeaten since 2002 at 56.6m. That record belongs to Elena Milakova. In the meantime, Elena has married, has become Mrs Elena Thomsen and has two children. She and her husband live in Switzerland. From the moment she left the dock, nobody really knew what to expect. A break from Jumping can be difficult. When her second jump distance of 53.1m was announced, the large crowd erupted. What a performance. Next came the reining World champion, Angeliki Andriopoulou GRE and it was clear that the stakes had risen significantly. Andriopoulou responded like a true champion with a distance of 54.9m. This was 2.5m better than her China 2005 World title distance. Now it was all down to Natalia Berdnikova BLR. Her best was 51.6m. A great effort but not enough to keep Andriopoulou from holding on to her World Champion title for two more years. With runners-up Elena Thomsen and Natalia Berdnikova on the podium, it was a very impressive occasion.
Now it was the turn of the Men. Of the twelve Jumpers, all but one exceeded 60.0m, six exceeded 65.0m and two exceeded 70m. In China two years ago, nobody broke that 70.0m barrier.
Marco Riva ITA was first on the water and scored 61.4m. Great start. Damian Sharman GBR pushed the lead up to 64.3m. Jimmy Siemers USA and Thomas Asher GBR both tied with 65.1m. The distances were rising rapidly. Jason Seels then raised the level of cheering with 68.4m. Ryan Dodd CAN was very impressive with 68.2m. Now there were two athletes on the dock and very special ones by any standards. Jaret Llewellyn CAN and Freddy Krueger USA. This is just what the large crowd had hoped for. The atmosphere was electric. Llewellyn was first to start and what a set he produced. This was impressive ? 68.9m, 67.5m and a huge 70.7m. The crowed roared. Krueger kicked off with 67.5m, the same as Llewellyn?s second jump. This would not be enough. Jump two was all or nothing. The entire audience roared as he eventually landed 72.4m from the Ramp. What an ending to a perfect Waterski World Championships in Linz-Steyregg, Austria.
For the record, both the winning distances set new records for a World Championships