Ammann soars to second gold

No surprise now, Swiss wins 120-meter ski jump

Winter Olympics

Salt Lake City 2002

February 14, 2002|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,SUN STAFF

PARK CITY, Utah - Simon Ammann is Swiss Air.

The 20-year-old who surprised everyone to take the gold medal in the 90-meter ski jumping event proved it was no fluke by duplicating that performance yesterday in winning the 120-meter competition before 20,469 fans.

"I am trembling. There are no words for this," said Ammann, who has never won a World Cup event.

He was tied going into the final jump with Germany's Sven Hannawald, a 27-year-old Olympic veteran who took the silver Sunday and was a favorite yesterday.

The two men jumped last of all the 30 finalists, with Ammann going first.

He jumped 133 meters - the farthest in the competition - and received few style deductions from four of the five judges, the Norwegian judge being the glaring exception. He finished with a two-jump total score of 281.4.

Then it was Hannawald's turn, and he cracked, falling short on his jump and badly bobbling his landing. As his coach grabbed his head in shock, Hannawald sat on the snow, motionless.

"I cannot yet say whether this might be good for something one day, but for now it is very depressing," Hannawald said. "There is nothing I can do about it. The situation cannot be repeated."

Hannawald's errors gave him a score of 255.3 and dropped him to fourth, behind Adam Malysz of Poland (267.9) and Matti Hautamaeki of Finland (256.0).

Malysz said he knew after the first jump it would be difficult to catch Ammann and Hannawald, "but in ski jumping anything is possible. I am happy with my silver medal. "

Hautamaeki said he jumped better than he did in the 90-meter competition, and called the bronze medal a gift.

"I was lucky today because Sven Hannawald was unlucky," he said.

Americans Alan Alborn and Clint Jones failed to make the cut for the final jump. Alborn finished 34th and Jones 42nd. But this was considered a seasoning year for the U.S. squad, which has three teen-agers on the five-man roster.

"It just wasn't my day," Alborn said. "I guess I didn't want it bad enough, and I couldn't put it together."

Neither could the vaunted Japanese team. The hero of the 1998 games in Nagano with two gold medals and a silver, Kazuyoshi Funaki couldn't get the distance he needed to stay with the leaders and finished seventh. Three-time Olympian Masahiko Harada never got untracked and finished in 20th place.

No one was betting on Ammann, least of all European bookmakers, who were solidly behind Hannawald and Malysz.

Ammann suffered a concussion in January in a crash during training and wasn't able to compete before the Olympics. But he said the accident gave him a chance to rest and set his strategy for the games.

The dark-horse status that helped keep the pressure off Sunday disappeared before yesterday's competition.

"We tried to stay out of all the celebration and hype, but we had a little celebration in the [Olympic] village," he said. "These are crazy days."

Multi-medalists

Athletes who have won more than one medal in Salt Lake City:

Men

2: Simon Ammann, Switzerland, ski jumping, 2 gold.

2: Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Norway, biathlon, 2 gold.

2: Adam Malysz, Poland, ski jumping, 1 silver, 1 bronze. Women

2: Magdalena Forsberg, Sweden, biathlon, 2 bronze.

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