Amman captures fourth career gold

Switzerland’s Simon Ammann conquered his nerves to claim the Olympic Games large hill title on Saturday and become the first ski jumper in history to win four individual golds.

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Ammann, who pulled off the double in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, also won the 2010 normal hill title last Saturday.

And he joked that such has been his domination at these Games organisers say he should start his own personal competition.

“The guys from FIS (International Ski Federation) told me I have to get my own hill and my own competition!,” he said.

“But I like it here in North America,” where he has won all his golds.

The 28-year-old recorded jumps of 144m and 138m for a total of 283.6 points to beat off Poland’s Adam Malysz (137m and 133.5m for 269.4pts) and Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer (130.5m and 136m for 262.2pts).

It was the same podium as last week’s normal hill.

“I’m speechless. What can I say? I was so nervous. It was a nerve-wracking experience,” said Ammann.

“But I had this magic force to jump far. This is truly great.”

Finnish ski jump legend Matti Nykanen won four four gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics but one of those came in the team event.

Malysz, once again succumbing to Ammann’s brilliance, was still happy with another silver.

“This in incredible, I am very, very happy. I trained a lot this summer and my goal was to put in my best ever Olympic showing. And I did,” he said.

Schlierenzauer said he was content with a second bronze and was now looking for a gold in the team event.

“It’s really cool. I fought for this and it’s a dream. Now I am looking forward to the team event with Austria,” he said.

Ammann came here under some pressure to deliver following a row fomented by his Austrian rivals, who claimed that a new curved binding was allowing him to pull out a few extra metres.

But the International Ski Federation saw nothing untoward with his equipment and gave him the green light to go on and make history with what was a huge win, leaving behind him the forgotten memories of missed podiums at the Turin Games in 2006.

Dubbed Harry Potter for his magical performances of 2002 and his resemblance to the young wizard, Ammann donned overlarge sunglasses to head for the medals ceremony where he leapt with joy as hundreds of cowbell-clanking Swiss fans roared their approval.

“Simon is just amazing,” said Schlierenzauer of the champion, who after his first round jump indicated that “I feel like I’m flying right now.”

Austrian multiple world champion Wolfgang Loitzl echoed Schlierenzauer’s praise.

“Ammann is jumping almost perfect. It’s very difficult for all the other competitors to beat him.”

The Austrians at least have Monday’s team event to look forward to where the Swiss will not be competing.


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