Present Olympic Athletes >> Janne Ahonen

Ski Jumping

Janne Ahonen

Date of birth

1977-05-11

Birthplace

Lahti

Height

184 cm

Weight

66.0 kg

Olympic Games (2 medals - 2 silver)

  • Normal hill: 4th (1998, 2002), 6th (2006)
  • Large hill: 9th (2002, 2006)
  • Large hill (team event): 2nd (2002, 2006), 5th (1994, 1998)

World Championships (16 medals - 5 gold, 7 silver, 4 bronze)

  • Normal hill: 1st (1997), 3rd (2005)
  • Large hill: 1st (2005), 3rd (2001)
  • Ski flying: 2nd (1996, 2004), 3rd (2000, 2008)
  • Normal hill (team event): 2nd (2001)
  • Large hill (team event): 1st (1995, 1997, 2003), 2nd (2001, 2005)
  • Ski flying (team event): 2nd (2004, 2006, 2008)

Four Hills Tournament

  • 1st (1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008), 2nd (2000, 2001), 3rd (1995, 1998)

World Cup

  • Overall ranking : 1st (2004, 2005), 2nd (1999, 2006), 3rd (1995, 1996, 2000, 2008)
  • 36 individual victories (up to 04/03/2008)

Returning for gold

After taking a year's sabbatical during the 2008-09 season, the great Finnish ski jumper Janne Ahonen is back on the hill as he chases his ultimate goal of the Olympic gold medal.

"This winter, when I was watching the competitions, I asked myself what standing I would have achieved. I'm going to train at 100% in order to win over there". Over there being the West Coast of Canada and the scenic city of Vancouver which is set to host the 2010 Winter Games.

Born on May 11, 1977 at the capital of Nordic skiing at Lahti, Ahonen had everything necessary to become a great champion.

Early in his career, he was hailed as the next Toni Nieminen, the 1992 Olympic champion who was also born at Lahti and also competed at his first Olympiad at the age of 16.

However while Nieminen hit the highest level of the sport in his first crack at gold, Ahonen was deceiving at Lillehammer in 1994 where he managed a miserable 25th in the large hill and 37th in the normal hill while only a fifth place in the team event was reason to smile.

His breakthrough at world level came at the 1995 world championships at Thunder Bay, Canada when he helped Finland take the team event.

Two years later, he won his first individual crown.

Next up was the Nagano Games in 1998 but again the results speak for themselves with a 4th place in the normal hill, 5th again in the team competition and 37th on the large hill.

King of the Four Hills

But hard work finally began to pay off and using the V-technique he surged to the prestigious Four Hills tournament title in 1999, improving on his third place finish of the previous year.

The Finn followed up with four more wins at the Four Hills in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008 making him the most decorated jumper in the history of the event.

Between 1999 and 2001, he was a regular in the top five of the World Cup rankings but his Olympic troubles continued at Salt Lake in 2002 taking fourth in the normal hill, 9th on the large hill but a first ever Olympic medal, a silver in the team event.

Following Salt Lake City, he returned to winning ways in 2003 winning the Four Hills competition for the second time.

He then went on to win the 2004 and 2005 World Cup titles, followed by a third win at the Four Hills and the world title in 2005 on the large hill.

The 2004-05 season saw Ahonen hit the peak of his powers by setting a new record for wins with 12, a mark that stood until 2009 when the young teenager Gregory Schlierenzauer broke the record by one.

Back for his fourth Olympic campaign in 2006 at Turin, he again had to settle for silver in the team event which was scant consolation for finishing 6th on the normal hill and 9th on the large hill.

Vancouver will give him another chance when he competes at his fifth Games and perhaps the moment to finally achieve his dream of and Olympic individual gold medal.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.