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Ski Jumping at the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Games:

Men's Normal Hill, Individual

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Squaw Valley, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Jumping Hill, Squaw Valley, California
Date Started: February 28, 1960
Date Finished: February 28, 1960
Format: Two jumps, with both scored on distance and form.

Gold: GER Helmut Recknagel
Silver: FIN Niilo Halonen
Bronze: AUT Otto Leodolter

Summary

Helmut Recknagel from Thuringia in East Germany was considered by most experts as the hot favorite for the Olympic ski jumping event at Squaw Valley in 1960. Aged 19, he had won at Holmenkollen in 1957 and 1958, and in 1959 he won the Four Hills Tournament, a prestigeous series of four competitions in Austria and Bavaria, inaugurated in 1953. For the 1960 tournament Recknagel and his fellow East German jumpers were denied visas from the West German authorities, and in his absence Max Bolkart from Oberstdorf, the venue for the first competition in the tournament, was the overall winner. Six weeks later those two would both be members of the joint German team for the Winter Olympics.

Finland’s best ski jumper was considered to be Juhani Kärkinen, World Champion on his home ground of Lahti in 1958. The Soviet Union had produced several top jumpers over the last few years, the stars being the 28-year-old Nikolay Kamensky, winner at Holmenkollen in 1958 and the colorful Georgian K'oba Ts'akadze. Norwegian jumpers were still having trouble adapting to the new aerodynamic ski jumping technique, but a new generation of young athletes were closing the gap to the world top class. Ole Tom Nord, aged 19, won the 1960 National Championships and was among the future hopes.

Helmut Recknagel made an impressive first jump of 93.5 meters and was in a clear lead after the first round. The youngest man on the Finnish team, 19-year-old Niilo Halonen, was in second position followed by Kamensky and Kärkinen. The 30-year old US ski jumper Ansten Samuelstuen, Norwegian born from Lillehammer and a recently naturalized US citizen, surprised the home crowd by lying in fifth place.

In the second round, Recknagel again produced the longest jump and was unchallenged for the Olympic title. Halonen made another good jump and won the silver medal by a clear margin. Austrian Otto Leodolter made the second best jump of the last round and advanced from sixth to bronze medal position. Torbjørn Yggeseth, educated as a fighter pilot in Canada and starting as a competitive ski jumper relatively late, advanced from eighth to fifth position with a good second jump and restored some of the lost Norwegian pride.

Helmut Recknagel was the first Olympic ski jumping champion from outside the Nordic countries. He and his fellow East German ski jumpers in the late 1950-ies developed a new aerodynamic technique by stretching their arms forward during their jumps, in Germany called “the Superman Pose”. Recknagel was later educated as a veterinary surgeon and for several years was a member of the East German and German Olympic Committee.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal PTS
1 Helmut Recknagel 22 Germany GER Gold 227.2
2 Niilo Halonen 19 Finland FIN Silver 222.6
3 Otto Leodolter 23 Austria AUT Bronze 219.4
4 Nikolay Kamensky 28 Soviet Union URS 216.9
5 Torbjørn Yggeseth 25 Norway NOR 216.1
6 Max Bolkart 27 Germany GER 212.6
7 Ansten Samuelstuen 30 United States USA 211.5
8 Juhani Kärkinen 24 Finland FIN 211.4
9 K'oba Ts'akadze 25 Soviet Union URS 211.1
10 Nikolay Shamov 23 Soviet Union URS 210.6
11 Halvor Næs 31 Norway NOR 209.8
12 Veit Kührt 19 Germany GER 208.7
13 Kåre Berg 27 Norway NOR 207.4
14 Alwin Plank 28 Austria AUT 206.7
15 Sadao Kikuchi 26 Japan JPN 206.2
16 Walter Steinegger 31 Austria AUT 205.9
17 Eino Kirjonen 26 Finland FIN 205.8
18 Rolf Strandberg 22 Sweden SWE 204.8
19 Bengt Eriksson 29 Sweden SWE 202.0
20 Andreas Däscher 32 Switzerland SUI 201.2
21 Werner Lesser 27 Germany GER 200.8
22 Koichi Sato 28 Japan JPN 200.3
23 Ole Tom Nord 19 Norway NOR 200.2
24 Dino De Zordo 22 Italy ITA 198.8
25 Yosuke Eto 25 Japan JPN 197.7
26 Claude Jean-Prost 23 France FRA 196.8
27 Leonid Fyodorov 31 Soviet Union URS 193.1
28 Jon St. Andre 20 United States USA 192.3
29 Inge Lindqvist 24 Sweden SWE 190.1
30 Takashi Matsui 19 Japan JPN 189.6
31 Władysław Tajner 24 Poland POL 188.2
32 Butch Wedin 19 United States USA 187.1
33 Jacques Charland 29 Canada CAN 186.3
34T Willi Egger 27 Austria AUT 185.4
34T Gerry Gravelle 25 Canada CAN 185.4
36 Nilo Zandanel 22 Italy ITA 184.8
37 Enzo Perin 26 Italy ITA 181.6
38 Robert Rey France FRA 179.3
39 Luigi Pennacchio 27 Italy ITA 171.2
40 Veikko Kankkonen 20 Finland FIN 168.0
41 Tamás Sudár 18 Hungary HUN 165.8
42 Gene Kotlarek 19 United States USA 165.1
43 Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson 29 Iceland ISL 155.7
44 Alois Moser 29 Canada CAN 151.1
45 Kjell Sjöberg 22 Sweden SWE 127.9