Ammann clinches World Cup ski jumping crown
Swiss ski jumper Simon Ammann has become the first Swiss in history to win the World Cup overall title in ski jumping.
Friday saw unprecedented World Cup success for Switzerland: Ammann’s achievement came only hours after Carlo Janka clinched the overall World Cup in the downhill.
Both champions won in masterful style, taking the first podium place in their respective disciplines.
Ammann fell on his knees and bowed to the hill after his victory at Lillehammer in Norway.
"Ending the season in this way is priceless ... to now have the trophy," he said.
"Swiss ski jumping has never had this before. That makes me especially proud."
Even before the season’s second-to-last ski jumping event began, Ammann practically had the title in the bag. To win the title he needed to come only 14th.
His performance made the season’s final event at Oslo on Saturday just a formality.
He totalled 274.5 points after clearing 135.5 and 133.5 metres in his two jumps.
The 28-year-old Swiss now has eight victories this year and 16 over the course of his career. The 1,549 points he has gained from 22 events this season have given him an unbeatable 203 point lead over last year’s champion Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer.
Schlierenzauer came second in Lillehammer with 132 and 132.5 metres, giving him 271.5 points, while Adam Malysz of Poland was third with 265.9 points from 135.5 and 127.5 metres.
Records all round
Amman’s victory crowns a record-breaking season. He flew into Olympic history in Vancouver by repeating his feat of Salt Lake City eight years earlier, winning both the large hill and the normal hill competitions. No-one else has ever won four individual Olympic titles in the discipline.
It also made him Switzerland’s most successful winter Olympics athlete of all time.
Ammann came third in the World Cup in 2007, and 2nd last year – pipped by Schlierenzauer who had just 19 points more.
But later in 2009 he won the summer Grand Prix in Japan, the first Swiss ever to do so. For the past four years, the winner of that title has gone on to win the World Cup.
However he has not yet won the Four Hills Tournament - a competition composed of four World Cup events in Germany and Austria.
And at the end of next week he will be at Planica in Slovenia for the skiflying world championships, a discipline in which he has been placed better than 5th.
The most successful Swiss ski jumper before Ammann was Walter Steiner, who came second in the World Cup in 1974 and 1977.
The current winter sport season has been exceptionally successful for Switzerland overall. Not only Ammann and Janka, but also Dario Cologna, Didier Défago and Mike Schmid brought home gold medals from Vancouver. Didier Cuche won the downhill World Cup and Janka won the classic Lauberhorn race.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
World Cup standings
(on March 12, with 22 events completed out of 23)
1. Simon Ammann, Switzerland, 1,549 points.
2. Gregor Schlierenzauer, Austria, 1,346.
3. Thomas Morgenstern, Austria, 899.
4. Andreas Kofler, Austria, 833.
5. Adam Malysz, Poland, 762.
6. Wolfgang Loitzl, Austria, 731.
7. Anders Jacobsen, Norway, 541.
8. Martin Koch, Austria, 505.
9. Janne Ahonen, Finland, 494.
10. Robert Kranjec, Slovenia, 489.
Simon Ammann is Switzerland’s most decorated Olympic athlete, having won four gold medals.
He launched himself into the record books in Whistler in February, winning two gold medals. He won two gold medals in Salt Lake City in 2002.
He also stands alone as having achieved the double of winning both the normal and the large ski jump events at a Winter Olympics event on two occasions.
Born on June 25, 1981 in Grabs, canton St Gallen, Ammann made his debut at the World Cup in 1998 when he was 16. He participated in his first Olympics in Nagano the same year.
Nicknamed Harry Potter, mainly because of his round glasses and youthful appearance, he became a media darling after the 2002 Games.
The four years after were difficult for him and he was unable to perform well. His underperformance at the Olympics in Turin in 2006 served as a catalyst.
The following winter he made a comeback with two World Cup wins and a gold at the World Championships in Sapporo.
Ammann lists sky diving, motorbike riding and golf as his hobbies away from his day job of ski jumping.
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