Takanashi wins season-opening women’s ski jump World Cup event

Sara Takanashi of Japan won the first women’s ski jump World Cup event of the season on Saturday, immediately showing why she is the big favorite for gold at the Sochi Olympics.

Takanashi won the overall World Cup title last season, and with her biggest rival — American Sarah Hendrickson — out injured, the Japanese jumper is expected to be even more dominant this season.

She had jumps of 102 and 96.5 meters on Saturday for a total of 286 points, comfortably beating Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria and Germany’s Gianina Ernst, who were tied for second on 270 points.

Iraschko-Stolz had the day’s longest jump of 102.5 meters in the first round but only managed 94.5 in her second attempt.

On Friday, Takanashi helped Japan win the mixed team event.