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Ski Jumping at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games:

Men's Large Hill, Individual

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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.

Gold: FIN Matti Nykänen
Silver: NOR Erik Johnsen
Bronze: YUG Matjaž Debelak

Summary

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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal PTS
1 Matti Nykänen 24 Finland FIN Gold 224.0
2 Erik Johnsen 22 Norway NOR Silver 207.9
3 Matjaž Debelak 22 Yugoslavia YUG Bronze 207.7
4 Thomas Klauser 23 West Germany FRG 205.1
5 Pavel Ploc 23 Czechoslovakia TCH 204.1
6 Andreas Felder 25 Austria AUT 203.9
7 Horst Bulau 25 Canada CAN 197.6
8 Staffan Tällberg 17 Sweden SWE 196.6
9 Matjaž Zupan 19 Yugoslavia YUG 195.8
10 Miran Tepeš 26 Yugoslavia YUG 194.8
11 Jari Puikkonen 28 Finland FIN 194.6
12 Heinz Kuttin 17 Austria AUT 193.5
13 Piotr Fijas 29 Poland POL 192.6
14 Ladislav Dluhoš 22 Czechoslovakia TCH 189.5
15 Jon Inge Kjørum 22 Norway NOR 189.2
16 Ari-Pekka Nikkola 18 Finland FIN 189.0
17 Ole Christian Eidhammer 22 Norway NOR 187.9
18 Jan Boklöv 21 Sweden SWE 185.4
19 Vegard Opaas 26 Norway NOR 185.2
20 Günther Stranner 20 Austria AUT 184.9
21 Anders Daun 24 Sweden SWE 183.1
22T Per-Inge Tällberg 20 Sweden SWE 181.8
22T Remo Lederer 19 East Germany GDR 181.8
24 Jiří Malec 25 Czechoslovakia TCH 181.2
25T Peter Rohwein 25 West Germany FRG 177.6
25T Didier Mollard 18 France FRA 177.6
27 Christian Hauswirth 22 Switzerland SUI 177.1
28 Ernst Vettori 23 Austria AUT 176.6
29 Jiří Parma 25 Czechoslovakia TCH 175.3
30 Gérard Balanche 20 Switzerland SUI 172.6
31 Jens Weißflog 23 East Germany GDR 172.0
32 Mike Holland 26 United States USA 170.6
33 Akira Sato 23 Japan JPN 170.2
34 Andi Bauer 24 West Germany FRG 169.9
35 Steve Collins 23 Canada CAN 169.1
36 Josef Heumann 23 West Germany FRG 167.1
37 Jan Kowal 20 Poland POL 164.3
38 Pekka Suorsa 20 Finland FIN 163.4
39 Sandro Sambugaro 22 Italy ITA 161.6
40T Primož Ulaga 25 Yugoslavia YUG 161.0
40T Emil Zografski 20 Bulgaria BUL 161.0
42 Mark Konopacke 24 United States USA 160.2
43 Fabrice Piazzini 22 Switzerland SUI 156.9
44 Christoph Lehmann 19 Switzerland SUI 153.2
45 Virginio Lunardi 19 Italy ITA 150.9
46 Vladimir Breychev 29 Bulgaria BUL 147.5
47 Shinichi Tanaka 28 Japan JPN 147.3
48 Masaru Nagaoka 25 Japan JPN 146.0
49 Chris Hastings 23 United States USA 145.1
50 Ted Langlois 20 United States USA 142.8
51 Bernat Sola 22 Spain ESP 139.3
52 Katsushi Tao 24 Japan JPN 138.2
53 Ron Richards 24 Canada CAN 128.1
54 Todd Gillman 20 Canada CAN 110.8
55 Eddie Edwards 24 Great Britain GBR 57.5