Olympics: Takanashi not unbeatable, says ex-compatriot Tanaka

Sara Takanashi of Japan soars through the air during the Ladies FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Planica, on Jan 26, 2014. Sara Takanashi may be considered the overwhelming favourite for Olympic women's ski jump gold, but her former Japanese compatriot A
Sara Takanashi of Japan soars through the air during the Ladies FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Planica, on Jan 26, 2014. Sara Takanashi may be considered the overwhelming favourite for Olympic women's ski jump gold, but her former Japanese compatriot Atsuko Tanaka believes the outrageously talented teenager can be beaten. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (AFP) - Sara Takanashi may be considered the overwhelming favourite for Olympic women's ski jump gold, but her former Japanese compatriot Atsuko Tanaka believes the outrageously talented teenager can be beaten.

Tanaka, the daughter of Japanese parents, was born in Calgary, Canada, but moved to Japan to study in 2010.

She competed for Japan for the next two years, before returning home and switching to the Canadian team.

"Ski jumping is an outdoor sport where weather and wind especially are a big thing," said the 22-year-old Tanaka.

"If you get lucky you might be able to beat Sara, but if she gets lucky then she's going to be very hard to beat.

She recalled: "I usually trained on the same hills as Sara and we had a lot of training camps together, so we're pretty close."

Takanashi has dominated the World Cup this season, winning 10 of the 13 events, and Tanaka admires the 17-year-old's technique: "It just looks simple and easy."