Getty Images

Janne Ahonen, ski jumping great, retires for third time

Leave a comment

Janne Ahonen, the greatest ski jumper without an individual Olympic medal, has retired for a third time at age 41, according to Finland newspaper Ilta-Sanomat.

The Finnish legend earned two Olympic silver medals in team events in 2002 and 2006, plus individual world titles in 1997 and 2005. He also amassed 36 World Cup wins and 108 podiums between 1992 and 2018, plus a record five titles at the prestigious Four Hills Tournament.

“I will never quit ski jumping — I will continue to jump when I feel like it — but I can confirm that I will not take part in any competitions anymore” Ahonen said, according to an International Ski Federation translation of the report.

Individually, Ahonen’s best Olympic finish was fourth — on the normal hill in 1998, 2002 and 2010.

Ahonen retired in 2008 and 2011, only to come back for his fifth and sixth Winter Olympics. He competed in a seventh Olympics in PyeongChang with finishes of 27th and 40th, plus eighth in the team event.

Only fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan has competed in more Winter Games than Ahonen.

Ahonen entered the sport at the tail end of Finland’s dominance. Now, Finland is an afterthought. No Olympic or world medals in a decade and just one men’s World Cup podium in the last seven years.

Ahonen wrote a tell-all autobiography during his first retirement that sold out in first printing. He detailed the kind of severe lack of eating that has long been associated with the sport.

During the summer, Ahonen would sometimes consume no more than 200 calories a day, eating cereal with a little nonfat yogurt for breakfast, nothing for lunch and another small portion of cereal for dinner.

He was also known for drag racing in offseasons.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Norwegian Alpine great ’50-50′ on race return

IOC revokes shooting event status over Pakistan visa refusal

AP Photo
Leave a comment

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee has revoked the Olympic qualification status of a 25-meter shooting event in New Delhi because Indian officials refused to grant entry visas to two Pakistani athletes and an official.

The IOC said Thursday it was informed on Monday that the Indian government authorities did not grant entry visas to the Pakistani delegation for the 25-meter rapid-fire pistol event at the ISSF World Cup, where two places at next year’s Tokyo Olympics were meant to be at stake.

The IOC said it only withdrew the Olympic qualification status from the competition in which the two Pakistani athletes were supposed to participate. There are 500 athletes from 61 countries who are already in India for other World Cup events.

“Since becoming aware of the issue, and in spite of intense last-minute joint efforts by the IOC, the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) and the Indian NOC (National Olympic Committee), and discussions with the Indian government authorities, no solution has been found to allow the Pakistani delegation to enter India in time to compete,” the IOC said in a statement.

It did not say whether Pakistani athletes were entered in any other events at the competition.

In a statement to the Press Trust of India news agency, Rajeev Mehta, the secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association, said Friday the IOA would approach the government again about the visas.

“It is a dangerous situation for all sport in the county,” Mehta was quoted as saying. “In addition to not being able to host events in India, there may be problems for our athletes to take part in international events.”

The IOC said the situation goes against the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter to not discriminate against any athlete.

The visa refusal comes amid escalated tensions between the two countries following last week’s deadly suicide bombing in Kashmir against Indian paramilitary troops. At least 40 Indian soldiers were killed in Thursday’s attack, which New Delhi blamed on Islamabad.

Since independence from Britain in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which is divided between the two but claimed by each in its entirety.

Yevgenia Medvedeva wins Russian figure skating event to revive Worlds hope

Getty
Leave a comment

VELIKY NOVGOROD, Russia — Yevgenia Medvedeva beat Elizaveta Tuktamysheva in the Russian Cup final on Friday and boosted her hopes of a dramatic return to the Russia team for the world championships.

Despite a fall in the free skate, last year’s Olympic silver medalist scored 222.90 points to beat Tuktamysheva by just 1.71.

Medvedeva has struggled this season after moving to Canada to train, while Tuktamysheva started strongly in the autumn but was then hospitalized with pneumonia.

The Russian Cup was widely considered an unofficial skate-off for Russia’s third world championship slot next month alongside Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova and European champion Sofia Samodurova.

The skater likely to lose her spot is Stanislava Konstantinova, who followed up fourth at the European championships with another fourth-place finish on Friday.

MORE: Medvedeva’s coach Brian Orser says they’re on stand-by for Worlds spot

As a reminder, you can watch the world championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!