Janne Ahonen

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Janne Ahonen, ski jumping great, retires for third time

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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.

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