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Austrians claim Nordic Worlds

SAPPORO, Japan — Austria relied on a solid team effort Sunday to win the ski jumping large hill team title at the Nordic World Ski Championships.

With double Olympic champion Thomas Morgenstern and rising star Gregor Schlierenzauer, Austria built a solid lead heading into the final round of jumps.

When Morgenstern landed a final jump of 125 meters, the Austrians had wrapped up the gold with 1,000.2 points. Norway finished second with 953.3 points while host Japan finished third with 905.9 to pick up its first medal of the meet.

“I had a great feeling today, like at the Olympics,” Morgenstern said. “My teammates did very well and that took a lot of pressure off me for the final jump.”

Andreas Kofler and Wolfgang Loitzi also helped Austria to victory. Morgenstern’s final jump allowed the Austrians to defend the title they won at the last world championships at Oberstdorf, Germany in 2005.

Morgenstern won gold in the team and large hill events at the Turin Olympics.

“Thomas is a real key player for us,” Kofler said. “He likes to jump last and is always able to make the most of his jumps.”

Loitzl took a lot of the pressure off his teammates with Austria’s longest jump of 133.5 meters to open the second round.

Austria led the field after the first round of jumps, followed by Norway and Japan.

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