Anže Lanišek, the bronze medalist in the 2022/23 Ski Jumping World Cup, paid tribute to Poland’s Dawid Kubacki at the season-ending ceremony in Planica, Slovenia, after Kubacki had to withdraw from the competition due to his wife’s illness.
The Slovenian stepped onto the podium in Planica with a printed image of Dawid Kubacki, lifting the photo of the Pole as he burst into tears during an emotional ceremony.
Due to Kubacki‘s withdrawal, he was surpassed by two competitors, Austrian Stefan Kraft and Anže Lanišek himself, with Kubacki ending up in fourth place. The overall victory in the World Cup standings was claimed by Norwegian ski jumper Halvor Egner Granerud.
Kubacki’s wife has been hospitalized for two weeks due to a heart condition, and the ski jumper wanted to be with his family.
“Thank you, Dawid. For me, he’s second because he was amazing this season,” said Lanišek in an interview with Eurosport as he fought back tears. “Maybe Halvor was slightly better in the second part of the season. Dawid showed that he is a great man and a great athlete.”
Kubacki told Interia.pl news outlet that the other ski jumpers’ reaction to his wife’s situation and Lanišek’s touching gesture only shows how good the relationships are within the sport.
“For me, this is something that shows how close we are. We compete with each other in terms of sport, but even though we are rivals, we like and respect each other,” he said.