Winter Olympics: Ski Jumping

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The Independent Online
IT IS not just the ice dance which will be bringing back memories of the 1984 Sarajevo Games at Lillehammer. Ten years since he won gold and silver medals on his Olympic debut, Jens Weissflog is able at last to step out of the shadows of the meteoric Finns, Matti Nykanen and Toni Nieminen.

Nykanen retired two years ago while the prodgious Nieminen, who became the youngest male Winter Olympic champion at Albertville when he was 16, has suffered such a dramatic slump since that he did not even qualify for the Finnish team this time. Weissflog, 29, in contrast, has relaunched his career and won both the 90m and 120m hills at Sapporo in Japan recently, the last event before Lillehammer.

The only thing standing in his way is the local hero, Espen Bredesen, who has been duelling spectacularly with Weissflog at the top of the World Cup all season.

There are three ski-jumping medals on offer - two individual competitions from different-sized jumps and a team event. There is also the Nordic combined event, involving jumping and a cross-country race. No Britons are involved in either.