Last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Horst Bulau was poised on the in-run atop the 75-m ski jump. After a first and second at Sapporo, Japan, and a historic double win at Thunder Bay, Ont., Bulau was atop the ski jumping world. He had just jumped 94 m, landing at the “K-point,” the critical landing distance. “In 99 per cent of the competitions if someone lands at the K-point, the starting gate is lowered to reduce speed,” Bulau said Saturday from his parents’ home in Ottawa. But last Thursday the jury did not react (“I guess they wanted an exciting competition”). Bulau was allowed to jump. He landed past the K-point, 1.5 m beyond the hill record. “The jury must have thought my first jump was perfect, but the second was better. I landed in some fresh snow and my skis stuck.” Bulau tumbled, breaking his collar bone.
The fall knocked Bulau from World Cup leader to second, his remarkable season seemingly lost. But consultations with doctors in Ottawa last week offered hope. “They say I’ll be able to jump in three weeks, in time for the world championships,” Bulau told Maclean's. Unlike downhill skiing, world championship ski jumping counts toward World Cup points. The championship meet in Olso, Norway, will be the first of the 10-jump second half of the jumping season. “What happened in St. Moritz has happened, nothing can be done about it. My hopes of finishing first overall are not that high now, the bone won’t be completely healed. If I finish well I’ll be satisfied.”
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