Having never previously won a World Cup event, Simon Ammann was not expected to do well at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. But he came away a double Olympic champion and became known as “the flying Harry Potter”.
A modest competitor
When he was 16, Simon Ammann competed in the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano with limited success. He placed 35th in the normal hill event (K90) and 39th on the large hill (K120), with little to suggest that he could become a world-beater.
Despite never having won a World Cup event, he claimed gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. Competing in the K90, he produced two superb jumps to win a close contest by just one-and-a-half points.
Four days later, Ammann proved to the world that his victory was no fluke. Now competing in the K120, he achieved the best jump in each round to win his second gold by more than 11 points. This made him perhaps one of the least expected double Olympic champions of all time.
After the anonymity of a 15th and 38th place at the Games in Turin, Simon Ammann arrived at the Vancouver Games as the favourite this time, based on his performances in the World Cup. On the first day of the Games, he won the gold medal in the K90, flying 105 then 108 metres, which were the best performances in each round.
Double dream double
A week later on the big hill, everyone was waiting for a repeat of 2002. With a first jump measured at 144 metres, the Swiss jumper immediately made himself the favourite to win. With his second jump, the RG Churfisten club member was once again in the lead. With 138 metres, his was the best score, giving him his fourth Olympic gold medal. A fantastic achievement! This was no magic trick; rather a masterstroke.
2010 – A historic year
2010 was definitely Simon Ammann’s year. Rather than easing off after the Games, he continued his season in the same vein, winning his last five competitions and earning himself the ski jumping World Cup and the title of skiflying World Champion. Congratulations, Mr Ammann.