POSTED: February 13th 2010

Swiss ski jumper Ammann leaps to first gold of the Vancouver Games

Simon Ammann: back on top of the Olympic world
Simon Ammann: back on top of the Olympic world

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

VANCOUVER, Feb 13: Switzerland’s Simon Ammann took the first hold medal of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in the ski jump at Whistler Olympic Park.

Ammann’s 108-metre jump in front of a crowd of 6,284 earned 141 points including the judges’ style points. That jump, combined with a first-round score of 135.5, gave Ammann a final tally of 276.5 points which was seven more than silver medallist Adam Malysz of Poland. Bronze went to Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer on 268.0.

The 28-year-old Swiss ski jumper was thus back on top of the Olympic world after having won both normal and large hill events at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Four years ago however, Ammann was seventh on the large hill and tied for 38th on the normal hill. The 2006 season was also a struggle on the World Cup circuit, as he placed 17th.

However his Vancouver win saw him maintain his season’s form since he leads this year’s World Cup standings with 1,249 points, 57 ahead of the second-ranked Schlierenzauer. Last year, Schlierenzauer and Ammann finished first and second overall in the World Cup.

Ammann has thus become only the third ski jumper to win three Olympic gold medals. Matti Nykanen of Finland won a record four golds. Ammann and Germany’s Jens Weissflog are next on the list with three. Ammann can equal Nykanen by winning the large hill event next Saturday. The team event is scheduled February 22.

Tragic reaction

In success Ammann’s thoughts included the tragic fate of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. He said: “I was up on the hill at the starting gate and I was the last jumper to be there. This is why I had to concentrate. I knew that I had to jump far. With the events from yesterday, the tragedy from yesterday, this gave me some other sort of idea of contemplating life. Oftentimes, it turns out to be different from what you had hoped for. This is why I want to cherish the moment. I have had a lot of luck in my career.”

Jenn Heil failed to live up to her favourite's rating when she finished second behind the United States' Hannah Kearney in the freestyle skiing moguls. Canada thus remained the only natiion never to have won a gold medal as host.

Anastazia Kuzmina won Slovakia’s first-ever winter gold in the women's 7.5km biathlon sprint event at Whistler Olympic Park.

Overnight rain and snow saw the men's downhill was rescheduled for Monday, when it will still be the first Alpine event of the Games. The women's super combined, originally scheduled for Sunday, was postponed from Friday because the women had not yet been able to train and is now scheduled for Thursday – good news for favourite Lindsay Vonn in her race to overcome injury.

Keywords · 2010 Winter Olympics · Ammann · first gold · Switzerland · Kuzmina · Vonn

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