Simon Ammann has become the first Swiss man in more than 70 years to become world champion in ski jumping, coming first on Saturday at the Nordic World Ski Championships.This content was published on February 24, 2007 - 13:15
Ammann, who became a household name in Switzerland after winning two Olympic gold medals in 2002, jumped to first place on Saturday at the event in Sapporo, Japan.
The Swiss skier led after the first round in the individual event in Sapporo, making a jump of 125 metres on the large hill.
He jumped 134.5 metres in the second and final round, which was second best but enough to secure top spot with 266.1 points, just ahead of Finland's Harri Olli who finished with 265.9.
"My heart started beating after I heard Olli had a jump of 136 metres," said Ammann. "I was happy when I could go fast out of the gate. I did a good jump, it wasn't perfect but it was good enough to win."
Norway's Roar Ljoekelsoey was third with 262.9 points after jumps of 123 and 135 meters.
His compatriot, Anders Jacobsen, who leads the World Cup standings, had a disappointing first jump of just 114.5 metres and couldn't make up ground after a second jump of 122.5 metres.
Switzerland's other hopeful in the event, Andreas Küttel, finished in 19th place, with jumps of 111 and 122 metres.
It was Ammann's biggest triumph since winning the normal and large hill gold medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics. For Switzerland, it was the first ski jumping gold medal at a world championships since Marcel Reymond's victory in 1933.
"Of course, the golds I won in Salt Lake City are the highlight of my career," he said. "But to come here and win a gold at this point in my career is very satisfying."
Ammann's fresh-faced appearance and glasses at Salt Lake City earned him the nickname "Harry Potter of ski jumping" after his surprising victories over Sven Hannewald of Germany and Poland's Adam Malysz.
Ammann had never won a major event before arriving in Salt Lake.
In the men's 30-kilometer cross-country skiing pursuit, Germany's Axel Teichmann edged compatriot Tobias Angerer to take the gold medal.
Teichmann crossed the finish line with a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes, 35.8 seconds. Angerer, who leads the World Cup standings this year, was 0.5 seconds off the pace for the silver medal.
Turin Olympic bronze medalist Pietro Piller Cottrer of Italy was third with a time of 1:11:36.7. Turin silver medalist Frode Estil of Norway finished a disappointing 17th overall.
Germany now has four medals at the Sapporo games. Norway leads with six. The 2007 championships mark the first time the meet is being held as an independent event in Asia.
In 1972, when the Olympic Winter Games were held in Sapporo, they doubled as the FIS World Ski Championships.
swissinfo with agencies
1. Simon Ammann, Switzerland, 266.1 points (125-134.5 metres).
2. Harri Olli, Finland, 265.9 (124-136.5).
3. Roar Ljoekelsoey, Norway, 262.9 (123-135).
4. Adam Malysz, Poland, 258.3 (123-133).
5. Thomas Morgenstern, Austria, 255.3 (122-131.5).
6. Janne Ahonen, Finland, 249.9 (123-130).
7. Dmitry Vassiliev, Russia, 235.2 (121-125.5).
8. Andreas Kofler, Austria, 231.9 (118-125).
9. Martin Koch, Austria, 225.3 (117.5-123.5).
Ammann was born on June 25, 1981 in Grabs, eastern Switzerland.
He began competing in the World Cup in 1997.
He won two gold medals, in the normal and large hill events, at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.
The biggest distance he has jumped is 218 metres at Planica in Slovenia - also in 2002.
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