Schlierenzauer, 16, takes first stage of Four Hills

Updated: December 30, 2006, 1:48 PM ET
Associated Press

OBERTSTDORF, Germany -- Teenager Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria won the first ski jumping event Saturday of the Four Hills tournament.

The 16-year-old leads the sport's most prestigious tournament with 296.0 points -- 9.5 more than Andreas Kuettel of Switzerland. Adam Malysz of Poland was third at 280.3.

Making his debut in the Four Hills, Schlierenzauer's first jump was 135.5 meters in near perfect conditions. His second leap of 142.0 meters, just 1.5 short of the hill record, brought cheers from 20,000 spectators.

"It's certainly the best day of my life so far," Schlierenzauer said. "I tried to stay relaxed for the second jump, but I felt a lot of pressure -- but it turned out good."

The Austrian took the lead in the World Cup standings after six of 24 events with 410 points. Simon Ammann of Switzerland, the double-gold medalist from the Salt Lake City Olympics, is second at 405, followed by Anders Jacobsen of Norway at 396.

Schlierenzauer, the nephew of former luge world champion Markus Prock, is the favorite to win the overall World Cup title in his first year on the circuit.

The next Four Hills stop is at Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year's Day.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press