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

event.

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

gold medal.

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.