Japanese 51-year-old ski jumping icon Noriaki Kasai competed at an overseas World Cup event for the first time in four seasons on Friday, finishing 38th in the 50-man field in Finland.

Kasai made his record-extending 572nd World Cup appearance in Lahti where his 117.5-meter jump was not enough to make the top 30 that would have qualified him for a second attempt.

"I felt weirdly under strain at the moment of taking off even though I wasn't nervous or anything," said the eight-time Olympian. "It's a first experience for me. I might have been feeling the pressure."

Japan's Noriaki Kasai (L) speaks to foreign media at a ski jumping World Cup event in Lahti, Finland, on March 1, 2024. (Kyodo)

Kasai, who earned his first World Cup point in five seasons on Feb. 17 at a meet in Sapporo, remains a popular figure, with fans in Finland asking for his autograph and photos.

"It's a pleasure to be able to go against young jumpers and I'm also happy to be cheered on by a big crowd," he said.

"I'm looking forward to knowing how much I can compete once I'm in form."

Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi poses for photo after finishing third at a ski jumping World Cup event in Lahti, Finland, on March 1, 2024. (Nordic Focus/Kyodo)

Compatriot Ryoyu Kobayashi overtook Kasai in the number of World Cup podiums at 64 at the same event after he flew 127 and 131 meters to finish third on 254.9 points.

Lovro Kos of Slovenia won on 262.5 points after flying 127 and 134 meters, followed by Germany's Andreas Wellinger who scored 275.1.

"It's extraordinary to be jumping at a World Cup level at that age, it'd be a bit too hard for me," Kobayashi said of Kasai.

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Ski jumping: Kobayashi finishes 2nd, Kasai 30th at World Cup meet