PARK CITY, Utah (AP) Simon Ammann of Switzerland became the second ski jumper in history to win gold medals on both hills in the same Olympics yesterday by surprising the field again at 120 meters.
Ammann, who won his country’s first gold in ski jumping with his victory at 90 meters, joined Finland’s Matti Nykanen as the only jumpers to win both events. Nykanen was a double winner in 1988 at Calgary.
Ammann won with a final jump of 436 feet (133 meters) and finished with 281.4 points.
“I am trembling,” Ammann said. “There are no words for this. I was so nervous. After takeoff, I was flying away. I felt this jump was really, really good. I can’t believe it. I am the champion.”
After touching down from the longest jump of the morning, Ammann dropped to his side and skidded through the snow. He popped up with the same look of disbelief he had after winning on the small hill as 20,000 fans shook Utah Olympic Park.
Before coming to Utah and mining two golden souvenirs from the Wasatch Mountains, the boyish-looking 20-year-old had never even won a World Cup event. He had missed two races last month after being injured in a spectacular crash in training for a World Cup event in Germany.
Adam Malysz of Poland won the silver medal with 269.7 points, and Matti Hautamaeki of Finland had 256 points and won the bronze. Malysz also won a bronze at 90 meters.
Germany’s Sven Hannewald, the silver medalist at 90 meters, had a chance to overtake Ammann on the final jump of the competition. He soared 430 feet (131 meters) but couldn’t hold his landing and fell back onto his skis. He finished fourth at 255.3.
Kazuyoshi Funaki, the defending Olympic champion from Nagano, was seventh with 245.5 points.
It was another disappointing Olympics for the U.S. ski jumpers, who won their one and only medal a bronze in 1924.
Alan Alborn of Anchorage, Alaska, didn’t even qualify for the second round of the final and finished 34th in his last Olympics. Knocked down by a stiff wind at his back, he jumped just 379 feet (115.5 meters) in the round of 50.
“Way too much tailwind,” said Alborn, shaking his head. “At that speed, you only get a quarter of your lift.”
Clint Jones, 17, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was 42nd but said the Olympic experience should help a young American team pointing for the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.
“That’s my goal,” he said. “This kind of competition will only help us out.”
Ammann had the longest jump in the morning training session 426 feet (130 meters), and then brought a crowd which included Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa to its feet on his first jump of the final by soaring 435 feet (132.5 meters).
Hannawald, who came into the Olympics as the favorite on both hills, then matched the Swiss jumper with a 435-foot leap and the pair entered the final round tied with 140.5 points.