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Ammann instant media darling

Ammann, "the little swiss guy", holds up two big medals Keystone

Switzerland's newest hero, double Olympic gold medallist Simon Ammann has jumped from obscurity to instant celebrity overnight.

This content was published on February 15, 2002 - 08:24

Having conquered the world of Olympic ski jumping, Ammann is now faced with the challenge of coping with sudden media stardom.

Ammann awoke in Salt Lake City on Thursday with his face splashed over the New York Times and a list of requests to appear on US network TV late shows.

Leaps for joy

Having already endeared himself with Swiss watching his unselfconscious leaps for joy at the base of the Salt Lake Olympic ski-jump, Ammann has now bewitched US audiences.

Talk-show giants David Letterman and his arch-rival Jay Leno both had the fresh-faced youth on their shows.

Speaking through an interpreter, Ammann said he was utterly overwhelmed by all the attention.

"I was invited by Jay Leno and the Letterman show. It was really unbelievable. All I did was some ski-jumping, that was all," Ammann said.

The plucky athlete said he had no wish to be a star.

"I'm simply a member of the Swiss team. I try to do my best for the team. It's very reassuring for me to come back to the team," he said.

The Little Swiss Guy

Along with media attention, come all the labels and comparisons. US journalists and presenters have referred to Ammann as "the little Swiss guy", an apparent reference to his 55 kilogrammes.

And then there are the Harry Potter comparisons

Ammann says he has little in common with the flying wizard of the children's books.

"I have been compared a great deal with Harry Potter. But I must confess that I don't think there was any fairy waving a wand over me," he said.

swissinfo with agencies

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