Four-time gold medallist Simon Ammann admitted Monday that he needs a miracle if he is to achieve his dream of becoming the first man to win five Olympic ski jump titles.
The 32-year-old Swiss, who won double gold at Salt Lake City in 2002 and repeated the achievement in Vancouver four years ago, was a disappointing 17th on the normal hill Sunday when Poland's World Cup leader Kamil Stoch took gold.
Now Ammann will head for the large hill on Saturday and then the team event next Monday in the hope of setting the record, but he is far from optimistic.
"The inrun here closes too quickly and I never found a solution to it on the normal hill," said Ammann, who managed modest jumps of 97.5m and 98.5m as she struggled with the set-up of the hill at RusSki Gorki.
"Maybe I will find a miracle solution on the large hill but I need to have a break."
Ammann, in his fifth Olympics, was the world champion on the big hill at Sapporo in Japan in 2007.
But he has been under-cooked in the World Cup this season where he stands in sixth place in a race dominated by Stoch and Peter Prevc, the Slovenian jumper who was silver medallist on Sunday.
"I'm sad. I tried to be successful but I wasn't myself at training and I just couldn't find that confidence which I needed to be as good as Kamil Stoch," Ammann said.
"I know for sure I still have the reserves to jump better. I jumped 98.5 metres in my best attempt -- I clearly know where I missed the distance but it doesn't help as I was too short.
"I was here for the gold. I was hoping to do it once again or at least to win a medal but everything went wrong."
Meanwhile three-time Olympic gold medallist Thomas Morgenstern, who finished the normal hill in 14th place, was just delighted to be back jumping after a serious fall in January left him with a head injury.
"The result is a result," said the 27-year-old, who jumped 97.5m and 101m which was the fourth best of the second round.
"It wasn't a bad performance after the crash. These have been very difficult weeks and days for me."
"I'm definitely not disappointed with my performance. Just one month ago I was in hospital and was thinking about completely different things. For me it's important to be here, to be alive and healthy and to have a chance to fly again."