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Ski jumper Ammann soars, beats world again



Two plus two: Ammann has the World Cup overall title and the ski flying championship in addition to two Olympic golds this year

Two plus two: Ammann has the World Cup overall title and the ski flying championship in addition to two Olympic golds this year

(Keystone)

Swiss ski jumper Simon Ammann added to his prize haul for the year on Saturday, finishing on top at the Skiflying World Championships in Slovenia.

Showing no sign of fatigue on one of the world’s largest hills, the Olympic double gold medalist put on a show at an event where athletes regularly fly in excess of 220 metres.

Ammann collected 935.8 points over four attempts and posted a longest jump of 236.5 metres. Rival Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria finished with 910.3 points and a longest jump of 230.5 metres.

Anders Jacobsen of Norway finished third spot, collecting 894 points over the two-day competition.

Already leading after two rounds on Friday, Ammann stunned the competition with his final leap, which just missed the world record of 239 metres.

Ski flying is a ratcheted-up version of ski jumping where athletes take on hills of at least 185 metres. Conventional ski jumping’s large hills usually average 120-130 metres.

Ammann’s win marked yet another triumph over Schlierenzauer, the 2008 champion in both ski flying and ski jumping, and last year’s World Cup champion.

Elite company

The Swiss jumper, who has four golds from the 2002 and 2010 Olympis, last Friday secured the World Cup overall title. Schlierenzauer came second in that race.

While Ammann’s win was expected, the failure of Poland’s Adam Malysz was not. Malysz, who was in second place after the third jump, ended up fourth.

Ammann is in elite company. He becomes only the fourth athlete to win at both the Olympics and at the ski flying tournament. Japan’s Kazuyoshi Funaki managed it in 1998.

But unlike Ammann, the Japanese jumper did not secure the World Cup overall title that season.

After crushing the competition this year, the only piece missing from Ammann’s trophy cabinet now is the Four Hills Tournament, in which he finished second this year.

Ammann went through a bit of a dip after his 2002 Olympic victories. He failed to follow up on his world-beating performances and suffered at the 2006 Olympics.

His best performance at a previous sky flying championship was fifth, in 2002.

Ammann will decide after the 2011 World Championships in Oslo whether to continue his career.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

Results

1. Simon Ammann (Switzerland); total points: 935.8; longest jump: 236.5m

2. Gregor Schlierenzauer (Austria); 910.3; 230.5m

3. Anders Jabosen (Norway); 894.0; 227.5m

4. Adam Malysz (Poland); 893.6; 211.5m

5. Robert Kranjec (Slovenia); 873.5; 222.5m

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Simon Ammann

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.

Ammann lists sky diving, motorbike riding and golf as his hobbies away from his day job of ski jumping.

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Vitals

Born: June 25, 1981

Hometown: Grabs, canton St Gallen

Residence: Schindellegi, canton Schwyz

Height: 1.72m

Weight: 58kg

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