Ammann sweeps ski jumps, just like Salt Lake City
Switzerland’s Simon Ammann is the first ski jumper to win four
individual Olympic titles with his victory in the large hill
Strapping on his disputed bindings again, Ammann flew past his
main rivals, putting down the best jump in both rounds and staving
off four Austrians who weren’t happy about his equipment.
Polish veteran Adam Malysz took silver, and Austrian 20-year-old
Gregor Schlierenzauer took the bronze – the exact same finish as in
the normal hill jump a week earlier.
Ammann held a commanding lead after the first round with a
jaw-dropping 144-meter effort – seven meters farther than Malysz.
Focused on a good landing on his second jump, he soared 138 meters
and nailed his landing for a total score of 283.6 points.
Malysz had 269.4 points and Schlierenzauer 262.2.
After sliding into the flat following his second jump, Ammann
pumped his right fist and then pointed to the crowd at Whistler
Olympic Park, then waited to see by how much he had won his fourth
It wasn’t close.
Ammann also swept both individual events at the 2002 Salt Lake
City Games as a brash 20-year-old, then had a disappointing
performance in Turin. He bounced back a year later and has been
among the best in his sport ever since.
Matti Nykanen of Finland also won four gold medals at the Winter
Olympics, but one of them came in the team jump.
The International Ski Federation on Friday dismissed Austrian
complaints that Ammann’s bindings violated regulations and gave him
an unfair edge, clearing him to keep using the equipment in
Saturday’s large hill event – and allowing him to keep his medal
from the normal hill competition.
Normal bindings use an elastic strap at the back to keep the
boot in place. In the Swiss version, the boot is attached to a
curved iron stick that bends forward as the jumper leans his body
almost parallel to his skis.
The Austrians say the bindings help Ammann jump farther by
improving his aerodynamics, and they asked the ski federation for a
review. The Swiss, in turn, asked for a quick ruling, and FIS
quickly determined that Ammann’s equipment met regulations.
Ammann said he never was worried that his binding would be
disallowed, and Malysz suggested the Austrians were either jealous
or playing psychological games with the World Cup leader.
There was a tie for the final spot after the first jump, so 31
competitors instead of usual 30 advanced to the second round.
Finland’s Janne Ahonen, who came out of retirement in hopes of
his first individual medal at the Olympics, crashed on his trial
jump. After a disappointing 125-meter performance in the first
round, he bypassed his second jump.
Peter Frenette, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., finished 32nd.