Host City: Calgary, Canada
Venue(s): Canada Olympic Park, Calgary
Date Started: February 23, 1988
Date Finished: February 23, 1988
Format: Two jumps, with both scored on distance and form.
Already having won the Olympic title on the normal hill Finland’s Matti Nykänen was a clear favourite to retain the title he had won in Sarajevo. Away from the Finn the picture was not so clear as the expected challengers from Norway, Austria and East Germany had faltered on the smaller hill and others, notably Pavel Ploc and his Czechoslovak teammates, had excelled where the more favoured failed.
Strong winds meant that the competition had to be postponed on four occasions but when it was eventually held Nykänen’s first jump of 120.5 m was the longest ever recorded in Olympic competition and virtually ensured that he would win the gold medal. The strong Norwegian tradition was upheld by Erik Johnsen who finished second a week after placing 41st in on the normal hill. Just 0.2 of a point behind Johnsen was Matjaž Debelak, the first Yugoslav ski jumper to win an Olympic title.
Dead last was the eccentric Briton Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards who narrowly avoided the embarrassment of scoring half the points of the penultimate finisher. It needs to be pointed out though that the next-to-last jumper, Todd Gillman of Canada, had fallen on his second jump.
The stories of Eddie Edwards and Matti Nykänen have come together and moved apart over the decades. The fame gained by their Olympic appearances was exploited to the point where both men reached the top of the Finnish pop charts but financial problems were to haunt them throughout the nineties. This is where the stories part company. Eddie Edwards recovered from bankruptcy, became a qualified lawyer and shares his time between the law, the building industry, his wife and children and the celebrity circuit. Nykänen’s life spiraled into alcoholism and violence and in 2004 he was convicted of assault when he stabbed a friend after an argument over a finger pulling competition. Married five times Nykänen has also served prison time for domestic violence and at one point was reduced to working as a stripper.
|4||Thomas Klauser||23||West Germany||FRG||205.1|
|15||Jon Inge Kjørum||22||Norway||NOR||189.2|
|17||Ole Christian Eidhammer||22||Norway||NOR||187.9|
|22T||Remo Lederer||19||East Germany||GDR||181.8|
|25T||Peter Rohwein||25||West Germany||FRG||177.6|
|31||Jens Weißflog||23||East Germany||GDR||172.0|
|32||Mike Holland||26||United States||USA||170.6|
|34||Andi Bauer||24||West Germany||FRG||169.9|
|36||Josef Heumann||23||West Germany||FRG||167.1|
|42||Mark Konopacke||24||United States||USA||160.2|
|49||Chris Hastings||23||United States||USA||145.1|
|50||Ted Langlois||20||United States||USA||142.8|
|55||Eddie Edwards||24||Great Britain||GBR||57.5|
|DNS||Mikhail Yesin||20||Soviet Union||URS|
|DNS||Eduard Suboch||18||Soviet Union||URS|