Sara Takanashi won her elusive first Olympic medal by capturing bronze in women's ski jumping at the Pyeongchang Games on Monday, putting to rest her demons from Sochi four years ago.

While she fell short of winning the gold medal she had targeted, Takanashi's two-jump total of 243.8 points was good enough for Japan's third medal of these games.

Overwhelming favorite Maren Lundby of Norway (264.6) topped the podium, with Germany's Katharina Althaus (252.6) taking silver.


Takanashi was the unquestioned gold-medal favorite at the Sochi Olympics where the inaugural women's ski jumping competition was held, but crumbled under the pressure to finish fourth.

On Monday, however, the 21-year-old Hokkaido native held her nerve as she finally came through on the Olympic stage.

"I fell short of the gold I was aiming for, but to have made it through the way I wanted was a huge load off the shoulders," Takanashi said. "Most importantly, I saved my best jump for last."

"I was unable to win a gold medal, but it was a precious experience that I will remember and helps build up my future career."

Moments after netting a medal, Takanashi had her sights set on a new target -- 2022 in Beijing.

"I already have a new goal now and that's to win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics," she said. "I need to address my weaknesses and become an even better ski jumper."

"I managed to get payback for Sochi, but my attention is now on Beijing. I want that gold medal so I can really repay all the people who have supported me."


Lundby, the runaway leader of the World Cup season, was peerless in winning her first Olympic medal, jumping the day's best of 110.0 meters in the final round after recording 105.5 in the first.

"I actually felt more nervous before the first jump than before the second," said Lundby, who handed her country a 10th ski jumping Olympic gold, tied for the most in games history with Finland.

"I had this strange feeling that I do not know what it was, I was not completely sure if my plan for today would work. For the second jump, I felt more in control of what I needed to do. I felt I had the upper hand."

"I have tried only to keep my mindset on myself and not let anything distract me. I feel that I managed that quite well. I am going to continue doing so."

While she caved under the pressure in Sochi, Takanashi said she had actually felt more pressed in Pyeongchang. The difference, she says, was that she managed to have fun at these games.

"I really enjoyed it," said Takanashi, who was bidding to become Japan's third female Winter Olympic gold medalist after figure skater Shizuka Arakawa in 2006 and Tae Satoya in the moguls in 1998.

"I remembered all the work I put in to get here and it paid off. When I first arrived in Pyeongchang, I wasn't completely convinced with myself and experimented with a few things."

"I had to make myself believe in the end. I came away with the right feeling after the first two trials yesterday, so I didn't jump a third. And it worked out."